[Haskell-cafe] RE: Haskell as a first language?

Miguel Mitrofanov miguelimo38 at yandex.ru
Tue Jul 14 06:11:35 EDT 2009

I disagree. It was easy enough for me. OK, I do have some Category 
Theory background and it certainly helps a lot. Still, I think that for 
a beginner (without any experience with C or anything like that) Haskell 
would be relatively easy. It doesn't involve (at least at the start) an 
ugly notion of assignment.

Michael Vanier wrote:
> Simon Peyton-Jones wrote:
>> Haskell is a great language!  Check out haskell.org.   I'm ccing the 
>> Haskell Cafe which is read by many people better qualified to answer 
>> your question than me.   (Since I've been working on Haskell for many 
>> years, I am not well qualified to say how it seems to a beginner.)
>> S
>> | -----Original Message-----
>> | From: Charles Turner [mailto:charlie.h.turner at googlemail.com]
>> | Sent: 11 July 2009 22:52
>> | To: Simon Peyton-Jones
>> | Subject: Haskell as a first language?
>> | | I'll make this short! Do you think Haskell is a good language to 
>> start
>> | with? I am brand new to programming and have been using Scheme, some of
>> | my peers suggest I should use Haskell. It seems "professional" to me.
>> | Has features that a beginner should not worry about. What would you
>> | suggest. (I'm not worried about bias)
>> | | Thank you very much for your time.
>> | | Charles Turner.
> Charles,
> Haskell is a wonderful language (my favorite language by far) but it is 
> pretty difficult for a beginner.  In fact, it is pretty difficult for 
> anyone to learn in my experience, because it has so many advanced 
> concepts that simply don't exist in other languages, and trying to 
> absorb them all at once will likely be overwhelming.  My path into 
> Haskell was roughly C -> Python -> Scheme -> Ocaml -> Haskell, and I 
> think that this has a lot going for it (though for a beginner I would 
> recommend Python over Haskell, and Scheme is suitable for beginners with 
> the right textbooks, e.g. How To Design Programs and/or Structure and 
> Interpretation of Computer Programs).  If you're willing to work really 
> hard, and don't mind that it may take you quite a bit longer before you 
> are creating real applications in Haskell than it would in e.g. Python, 
> you can start with Haskell (check out the book Real World Haskell: 
> http://realworldhaskell.org).  But if you get frustrated, feel free to 
> shift down the list I gave.  Scheme or Ocaml are good languages to learn 
> the basics of functional programming, and then you just have to add on 
> the Haskell-specific material (of which there is a lot).  Haskell is 
> kind of like a point in the language space that programmers evolve towards.
> Mike
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