[Haskell-cafe] Re: Libraries for Commercial Users

Curt Sampson cjs at starling-software.com
Sat Oct 24 23:42:10 EDT 2009

On 2009-10-24 23:08 +0100 (Sat), Iain Barnett wrote:

> Twitter was (originally, at least) done using ROR.

Many significant parts of twitter have not been RoR for a long time,
if ever. I'm not sure what RoR module they were originally using for a
high-volume, reliable, distributed message queuing system, but it's all
custom Scala right now.

And as anybody who's ever run a RoR site that answers thousands of
requests per second knows, you do a *lot* of custom work that requires a
lot of expertise to keep that sort of thing working, or get it running
at all. RoR offers a familiar (if poor) environment for non-expert
programmers; that can be a valid reason to keep it, I guess.

> http://www.radicalbehavior.com/5-question-interview-with-twitter-developer-alex-payne/

Yes. Exactly. See answer #2.

> What is it that Haskell can do that Ruby can't when it comes to
> websites?

Well, for a start, having a compiler makes an enormous difference. (But
then again, Java wins over Ruby there, too.) But as for the language,
it's the same as for anything else: better, faster, cheaper development
if you have some talented people working for you. Or if you believe that
Ruby is a better language than Haskell, well, that's an argument I don't
want to get in to.

> If you're in business, you're trying to keep your costs lower than your 
> income. That means that a language with a stable code base, good/many 
> libraries, and a large pool of developers is a good choice.

Please, I love having managers like you as my competition.

But you might want to reconsider that opinion. You'll note Yahoo shops,
during the time as Viaweb when it went from nothing to getting sold for
a heck of a lot of money, met none of the above requirements.

> These things mean getting quicker to market, cheaper developers, and
> you can replace a developer if one leaves.

There's the key difference between us, I suppose. You believe that
knowing the syntax and libraries of a language is the hardest part of a
programming project. I believe it's a nearly trivial part.

Curt Sampson       <cjs at starling-software.com>        +81 90 7737 2974
           Functional programming in all senses of the word:

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