[Haskell-cafe] Re: "Haskell is a scripting language inspiredby Python."

Luke Palmer lrpalmer at gmail.com
Fri Nov 5 01:11:11 EDT 2010

On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 6:00 PM, Donn Cave <donn at avvanta.com> wrote:
> I don't care about whether Python had any influence, but I'd sure
> like to stamp out the "scripting language" rumor.

You all are talking about calling Haskell a scripting language like
it's a bad thing.

Coming from a Perl background, I learned that when a culture made
stuck-up claims about its language being a "real" programming
language, what it meant was that it would be verbose, dry, and no fun.
 To us, scripting meant short, potent code that rolled off your
fingers and into the computers mind, compelling it to do your job with
reverence to the super power you truly are.  Programming meant a
system with 100,000 lines of boring code that reinvents a broken
dialect of LISP because it was too rigid to get the job done

I also have a C++ background and a C# foreground.  This large, inert
culture views Programs with a capital P as large, complete tools like
Photoshop (also with a capital P).  Their #1 stigma against scripting
languages is that they are too slow to do real work.  Also they "don't
scale well", which I guess means that they don't make it inconvenient
to design badly.

Haskell is a language in which it is possible to write short, potent
code (I use it at the command line).  It is fast enough to do real
work.  It is inconvenient to design badly.  It is fun.  It is also dry

"Scripting language" strikes me as one of those terms that is used in
heated arguments despite having no meaning (meaningless terms seem to
proliferate as the heat is turned up).  I dunno, I just don't think it
is a big deal.  Everybody seems to be calling Haskell a "DSL-writing
language", but that can just as easily be taken as a point for and
against it.  If people find Haskell useful for scripting, then it is a
scripting language.  No need to be offended.


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