[Haskell-cafe] In what language...?

Brandon S Allbery KF8NH allbery at ece.cmu.edu
Fri Dec 3 20:28:43 CET 2010

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On 11/28/10 08:47 , Florian Weimer wrote:
> * Gregory Collins:
>> * Andrew Coppin:
>>> Hypothesis: The fact that the average Haskeller thinks that this
>>> kind of dense cryptic material is "pretty garden-variety" notation
>>> possibly explains why normal people think Haskell is scary.
>> That's ridiculous. You're comparing apples to oranges: using Haskell
>> and understanding the underlying theory are two completely different
>> things.
> I could imagine that the theory could be quite helpful for accepting
> nagging limitations.  I'm not an experienced Haskell programmer,
> though, but that's what I noticed when using other languages.

Yes and no; for example, it's enough to know that System F (the type system
used by GHC) can't describe dependent types, without needing to know *why*.
 A brief overview is more useful in this case.

This is true of most of the ML-ish languages:  they're based on rigorous
mathematical principles, but those principles are sufficiently high level
that there isn't a whole lot of point in teaching them as part of teaching
the languages.  The concepts behind other languages are rarely based in
anything quite as high level, and moreover often take structural rather than
mathematical form, so understanding them *does* help.  (An example of this
is C++ templates; as I understand it, there *is* mathematics behind them,
but many of their behaviors come from their structure rather than the math.)

- -- 
brandon s. allbery     [linux,solaris,freebsd,perl]      allbery at kf8nh.com
system administrator  [openafs,heimdal,too many hats]  allbery at ece.cmu.edu
electrical and computer engineering, carnegie mellon university      KF8NH
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