[Haskell-cafe] Fwd: Haskell Weekly News

Kim-Ee Yeoh ky3 at atamo.com
Fri Aug 7 18:55:47 UTC 2015

*Editorial:*Over a month has elapsed since the last issue.

Is the Weekly News turning into the Monthly News?


I've been working on getting full-length articles into the News. Imagine
articles that investigate, analyze, and give the low-down on hoary issues
like cabal hell that cannot be telegrammed in a two-sentence paragraph.

But my time isn't quantum mechanical. When I do A, I can't at the same time
do B.

I know that there are fine haskellers who'd gladly write for pay. However,
HWN has never had a foundation in place for paid articles. Building that
foundation takes time.

Now that much of it is in place, let me duly announce that HWN hereby
solicits reviews, reports, criticism pieces, and personal essays.

   - Flexible word count: anywhere between 250 and 750 is fine.
   - Send me an outline first.
   - Published articles pay at 68 bitcents, under 200 euros / dollars right
   - You can count on extensive editing for the requisite polish and also
   to conform to 'house' style.

Interested? Email me with a subject line that starts with "[HWN pitch]"
followed by the title of your piece. In the body, outline the main points
you'll hit and explain how they engage the HWN readership.

So on with the News :

*Top picks:*

   - Galois organizes this year's ICFP contest. The 72-hour countdown has
   just started! After tantalizing us with whisperings of more computational
   archaelogy (see 2006 ICFP contest <http://www.boundvariable.org/>)
   centering on honey bees, national food security, and the Hebrew alphabet;
   Portland, Oregon reveals a classic offline AI game programming challenge
   <http://icfpcontest.org/spec.html>. According to redditor skatenerd
   "it's a lot like Tetris, except you know what pieces are coming."

   - Rick Dzekman
   <http://rickdzekman.com/thoughts/the-haskell-user-experience/> offers
   constructive criticism based on his "poor UX (User Experience) of a great
   language (Haskell)". Among the low-lying fruit he identifies: a web search
   doesn't always link to the latest version on the Hackage website, something
   easily fixed. Not so low-lying are Cabal, a modern IDE, and Haskell wiki
   documentation. In sympathy with the sentiments are HN readers
   <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10008169> and /r/haskell

   - Christoffer Stjernlöf brings attention to how only in imperative land
   does one encounter the awfulness of the same boolean expression getting
   tested twice in a nested if-inside-if. He uses it to make "the case for
   controlled side effects", the title of his blog post. Discussions on
   and Hacker News <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10017613>.

   - Alexey Shmalko introduces Haskell IO as "the command pattern"
   <http://www.alexeyshmalko.com/2015/io-is-your-command-pattern/> to
   object-oriented programmers. His article resists mentioning monads or
   do-notation. Appreciated on /r/haskell

   - The latest issue of the Functional Works monthly newsletter
   reminds us about Chakravarty and Keller's "An Introduction to Computing
   (with Haskell)", a textbook written from multiple years teaching first-year
   CS. At 150 pages, the book dodges monads -- nary a single mention -- and
   zooms into I/O actions. It's out-of-print but readily downloadable

   - The program for this year's Haskell Symposium
   <https://www.haskell.org/haskell-symposium/2015/> is out. PC chaired by
   Ben Lippmeier, it's truly a smorgasbord. If you can't find a
preprint, indefatigable
   might just have got you covered.

   - Zhenjiang Hu, John Hughes, and Meng Wang publish "How Functional
   Programming Mattered"
   <http://nsr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/07/13/nsr.nwv042>, a
   survey of FP's impact outside its academic domain in recent years. It is
   written in the mold of and complements A History of Haskell: Being Lazy
   with Class (2007)
   Comprising 17.5 pages of 2-column ACM-proceedings-style 9-point text, it
   houses the bibliographical treasure of 122 references, itself a
   contribution to any debate over priority. /r/haskell

   - Victor Maia writes a lambda calculus evaluator in javascript
   <https://github.com/SrVictorMaia/optlam> that computes 200^200 mod 31
   without breaking a sweat. No mean feat, since all numbers are church
   numerals. How did he pull it off? His javascript implements a fragment of
   Lamping's optimal algorithm, which is based on interaction nets.
   (Optimality here is in the sense of Levy-optimality: keeping the number of
   beta reductions down to an absolute minimum. By itself, this count is
   generally an inaccurate measure of efficiency.) He wonders on
   why optimal evaluation has such magical superpowers. The convo at
   has yet to crack the mystery.

   - Philippe Desjardins Proulx
   <http://phdp.github.io/posts/2015-04-05-automated-reasoning.html> codes
   and compares a basic arithmetic expression evaluator in all 5 languages of
   F#, Scala, Haskell, C++, and Julia. The evaluator acts on a given tree:
   Philippe doesn't touch parsing. Go, Erlang, and Elixir versions are in HN
   comments <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9995896>.

   - Redditor gilmi starts a discussion on /r/haskell about the various FRP
   out there and whether they're ready for real-world use. Ollie Charles
   glosses classic vs arrowized systems, Doug Beardsley at Soostone testifies
   that "reflex is the first thing I've used that makes building web UIs
   enjoyable for me, which is very exciting", and Joseph Abrahamson channels
   Conal Elliott in staking out the acronym to mean exclusively those systems
   that admit continuous time.

*Quotes of the Week:*

   - Andrew Cowie <https://twitter.com/afcowie/status/612764291863703552>:
   The highlight of my day is "cd ~/src/haskell/stack ; git pull ; stack
   install". What goodies have they landed this time?

   - Cale Gibbard
   I basically never turn on IncoherentInstances because it basically means "I
   don't want anything to work, and I'd like to be confused about why."

   - Redditor fegu
   Haskell is like a mental drug, after a few initial hits you absolutely
   crave it. You will forego lucrative .Net career moves just to keep it,
   hence your long-term career will take a hit. But the days will be brighter,
   more enjoyable and there is just that glimmer of hope that in the end you
   will be able to practice Haskell full time in a well-paid position. I wish
   I was joking.

   - On ageism in the software industry
   <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9710936#up_9711829>: Maybe I've
   been lucky, but this doesn't mesh with my experience at all. The oldest
   guys at my company are the ones teaching the classes about Haskell or
   Scalaz. They're the ones trying out Elixir. They're the ones building
   frameworks for everyone else to build on top of. The youngest people are
   banging out feature #4,501 for the website.

*Real World Haskell of the Week:*

   - Fed up with the laggy Netflix UI? Check out the snappy Haskell-powered
   instantwatcher.com. H/T erichmond on HN

-- Kim-Ee
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