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

Conal Elliott conal at conal.net
Tue Mar 24 18:44:03 EDT 2009

> This question makes me wonder... why is explicit recursion taught first?
> [...]

Perhaps also because teachers, being older than their students, are often
mired in outdated thinking.

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Jake McArthur <jake at pikewerks.com> wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> 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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