[Haskell-cafe] Why Haskell is beautiful to the novice

Mike Meyer mwm at mired.org
Tue Sep 1 06:59:08 UTC 2015

On Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 12:58 AM M Farkas-Dyck <strake888 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I could compare Java and COBOL; it wouldn't make Java worthy.

Of course not. There are application areas for which COBOL is clearly
superior to - and hence more worthy than - Java. Or Haskell.

You seem to be suffering from the common misconception that there is some
independent, objective measure of the quality of programming languages.
That simply is not the case. It will depend on any number of constraints.
For instance, much as I enjoy writing Haskell and appreciate it's virtues,
it is less worthy than C/C++ for many of my current projects for the simple
reason that Haskell code won't run on the processors those projects need to
run on.

The same goes for teaching an intro programming/CS/SE class. Your measure
of "worthy" will depend on your goals and audience. Do you want to
introduce programming as an art that can be criticized and enjoyed? Then
I'd say Haskell is clearly the choice you want to make. But if the goal is
to give the students a feel for what programing is like for most practicing
programmers today, then Haskell falls well behind many other languages. And
so on through a long list of other possible scenarios with there own
metrics of worth.
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