[Haskell-cafe] Cal, Clojure, Groovy, Haskell, OCaml, etc.

Andrew Coppin andrewcoppin at btinternet.com
Tue Sep 29 15:36:24 EDT 2009

Tom Tobin wrote:
> This.  As an experienced Pythonista but a beginning Haskeller, there
> is *no way* I would have been able to wrap my head around the basics
> of Haskell without the tutorage of Learn You A Haskell, Real World
> Haskell, and various smaller tutorials scattered around the Haskell
> wiki — but I still find the array of libraries confusing (just what
> comes with GHC — I'm not even talking about Hackage here), since the
> documentation seems to be quite terse compared to Python's docs.  I'm
> getting better at reading the code directly, but I'm often at a loss
> for what a particular library is good for in the first place.  The
> library documentation seems to assume a mathematical or (advanced)
> computer science background, and has no problem sending a reader off
> to see a journal paper for details — not exactly friendly to those who
> are trying their hardest to unlearn their imperative ways as it is.
> ;-

While some of the stuff that comes with GHC is quite well documented, 
others are highly under-documented. (As an exercise, go count how many 
module descriptions say "inspired by the paper by XXX at this URL"...)

Admittedly, the System.IO module probably isn't the place to explain 
what a monad is and write a full tutorial on using them. However, look 
at (say) Control.Concurrent.STM.TVar. In my copy (GHC 6.10.3) it lacks 
even type signatures, let alone actual descriptions. Similarly, Parsec 
has some lovely external documentation (unfortunately as a single giant 
HTML page), but the Haddock stuff is bare.

Now, the operative question (and I'm sure we've debated this one before) 
is: how do we fix all this?

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