[Haskell-cafe] Comments requested: succ Java

John A. De Goes john at n-brain.net
Tue Sep 29 09:51:38 EDT 2009

You misunderstood my point. The browser, BigTable clone, and peer-to- 
peer networking libraries are starting points for applications -- ones  
that I've actually needed at various points in my career. You can grab  
them and start developing with them in a few minutes. If you want  
these components (or 100 others) in Haskell, you're going to have to  
write them yourself (at a cost of several to dozens of man years), or  
at least write sucky imperative wrappers around existing C libraries,  
compile those libraries, develop a cross-platform build process, be  
prepared to fix bugs in multiple languages, etc.

Hackage is great, except when it's not, which is most of the time. No  
one's bit off the really big projects. In fact, they get voted down on  
the Reddit Haskell proposals, because somehow really practical  
software like an AMQP client isn't "cool" enough.

Haskell's great for small applications that don't need specialized  
libraries (and apparently, for small segments of the financial  
industry). For other applications, it usually cannot compete  
economically with other, vastly technically inferior languages like  


John A. De Goes
N-Brain, Inc.
The Evolution of Collaboration

http://www.n-brain.net    |    877-376-2724 x 101

On Sep 28, 2009, at 10:56 AM, Curt Sampson wrote:

> Ok, my last post on this for real this time.
> On 2009-09-28 08:13 -0600 (Mon), John A. De Goes wrote:
>> Let me ask you this question: how long would it take you to get an
>> HTML/CSS, W3 compliant browser in Haskell?
> A long time. On the other hand, by grabbing a copy of Mozilla, I'll  
> have
> one far faster than you'll have yours in Java, mine will work a lot
> better, run more quickly, and work better with most sites.
> While I advocate using Haskell, I don't advocate being silly.
> (Incidently, I have direct experience with an almost exactly parallel
> situation. I replaced a system that was thousands of lines of
> difficult-to-maintain Java code with a few hundred lines of Haskell  
> that
> feed Microsoft Excel. The user is very pleased that he can now can do
> far more extensive tweaking of the UI himself, including major  
> features
> he never had at all before, such as real-time graphing of the data.)
>> Or how about a peer-to-peer networking system with seamless scaling
>> and automatic failover?
> Can you give me an example of a real-life system using this you've set
> up in "a few minutes"? My experience building systems with similar
> things (the very mature and proven MogileFS suite of tools) has been
> that the libraries were nice, but did not solve the majority, or  
> even a
> large minority, of the problem.
>> Libraries are _everything_. In many cases, they can increase your
>> effective budget by 10x or even 100x.
> Or the other way around, as I've seen by ripping out thousands of  
> lines
> of Hibernate code, and all of the work done to adapt a system to that
> model, and replace it with a few hundred lines of SQL and JDBC calls.
> That library has probably wasted more man-years than anything else  
> I've
> seen in the Java world.
> cjs
> -- 
> Curt Sampson       <cjs at starling-software.com>        +81 90 7737 2974
>           Functional programming in all senses of the word:
>                   http://www.starling-software.com

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