[Haskell-cafe] about Haskell code written to be "too smart"

Jake McArthur jake at pikewerks.com
Tue Mar 24 18:35:26 EDT 2009

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Jonathan Cast wrote:
| You know, this might actually need to be looked into.
| You need to know recursion and pattern-matching to *write* re-usable
| higher-order functions, but how appropriate is that as the first thing
| taught?

An excellent question!

Coincidentally, I was just having a conversation with my girlfriend
about programming with "building blocks." She described her main hurdle
with programming at the moment, which is getting over the fact that she
is used to working with tangible objects that you just put together in
the appropriate way and her mind expects programming to work the same
way, but it doesn't, at least in the languages she has looked at so far.
I hypothesized that a language emphasizing combinators might be more
intuitive to her than a language emphasizing loops and imperative steps
for precisely this reason. I'm not entirely sure that she bought it, but
she seemed to agree that it at least sounds nice in theory.

Now I just have to convince her to become a willing subject in this
experiment. ;)

This question makes me wonder... why is explicit recursion taught first?
I can't help but think now that it may be because those coming from
imperative languages are used to writing loops, and recursion is the
closest to loops that we have.

- - Jake
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