[Haskell-cafe] Am I the only one having problems with RWH?

Mark Thom markjordanthom at gmail.com
Sat Oct 6 21:25:03 CEST 2012

I also had problems when I began reading RHW, early in my career as a
Haskell beginner. The functional pearl on monadic parsers by Hutton and
Meijer was a great help in understanding the thinking behind Parsec. While
reading it, I had some difficulty understanding why certain functions
should ever terminate, but once I got past that, it made chapter 10 of RWH
much easier to understand. Also, the functional pearl on applicative
functors by Conor McBride and a second author (can't recall his name) blew
the door open on the subject, for me.

On Sat, Oct 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM, Patrick Mylund Nielsen <
haskell at patrickmylund.com> wrote:

> I'm not totally sure if you're having problems with RWH, or think it's
> too easy, but here are my thoughts on both:
> Both RWH and LYAH (http://learnyouahaskell.com/) are intended for
> beginners/people who just want to get started, and RWH tends to be
> regarded as the hardest to understand ("read LYAH then RWH.") (RWH is
> also specifically aimed at demonstrating how to solve practical
> problems, not "hard"/academical ones.) I too agree that LYAH is the
> easier one, and it is slightly more focused on the theory and concepts
> of Haskell, so I would definitely recommend checking that out. I found
> that the topics and chapters of the two books mix nicely--you don't
> get the feeling that you're just reading the same book twice.
> For other Haskell-related writings, Simon Marlow is currently writing
> a book based on his Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell
> tutorial (http://community.haskell.org/~simonmar/par-tutorial.pdf) for
> O'Reilly at the moment. In the meantime, I've found the Simons' papers
> to be interesting reading:
> http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/simonpj/
> http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/people/simonmar/
> The level of the papers range from LYAH-style material to the more
> abstract/advanced a la Philip Wadler's Theorems For Free
> (http://ttic.uchicago.edu/~dreyer/course/papers/wadler.pdf) Most of
> Philip Wadler's papers are also very interesting:
> http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/wadler/
> So, you're probably at a level where you'll want to start looking for
> interesting academical papers on Haskell/FP and theory, then re-visit
> RWH once in a while. I found the papers on STM, Cloud Haskell, and
> Parallel Haskell, to be the most interesting, easy to understand, and
> practically useful.
> On Sat, Oct 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Janek S. <fremenzone at poczta.onet.pl>
> wrote:
> > I began learning Haskell 9 months ago. I still consider myself a
> beginner, but I'm progressing
> > towards more advanced concepts. I read scientific papers (simpler ones)
> and books about Haskell
> > and functional programming. Right now I'm reading Pearls of Functional
> Algorithm Design,
> > Introduction to Functional Programming, Implementation of Functional
> Programming Languages and
> > Real World Haskell. RWH is causing me a lot of trouble though. This
> leads me to frustration
> > because book covers rather basic material. I just spent another 1,5 hour
> reading chapter 10 again
> > and trying to understand how presented parsing functions work. Even if I
> am barely able to grasp
> > what is going on I feel that I wouldn't know how to write such code by
> myself. Am I the only one
> > having such problems with RWH?
> >
> > Jan
> >
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