[Haskell-cafe] Re: Books for "advanced" Haskell

Heinrich Apfelmus apfelmus at quantentunnel.de
Sun Mar 7 06:05:25 EST 2010

Dan Piponi wrote:
> Günther,
>> A shining example are Dan Piponis blog posts.
> When you get stuck, post a comment saying where so that I can learn
> what people find difficult.
> On the other hand, I understand how intangible not-understanding can
> be, so it can be hard to point to where the problem is.

I'd wager that due to wildly different backgrounds, the difficulties are
also different for each person.

Lately, I've been dreaming about some kind of (online-) book that covers
the missing (Haskell) prerequisites in a modular fashion. I.e. when
writing a blog post, you no longer have to implicitly assume / guess
something about your readers' background, you can specify it explicitly,
something like this

    module MyBlogPost where
    import EverythingYouKnowAboutMonoids
    import MonadsAsComputation
    import IntuitionAboutDifferentialForms
    import UnderstandingCurryHowards

The book itself would track internal dependencies in the same fashion.
Now, tracking each and every prerequisite is impossible, but some useful
approximation ought to be possible.

I remember a comment about people having trouble understanding monads on
#haskell that might be solved by such a book thing. Namely, the main
problem was that (a subset of) people simply lacked required Haskell
knowledge, like having a good grasp on the distinction between type and
type constructor, or being unfamiliar with Maybe.

Likewise, it appears that me that a substantial fraction of the comments
on RWH are actually about missing or just recently understood prerequisites.

Hence, I think that tracking prerequisites explicitly has potential.

Heinrich Apfelmus


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