[Haskell-cafe] Investing in languages (Was: What is your favourite Haskell "aha" moment?)

Damian Nadales damian.nadales at gmail.com
Wed Jul 11 14:36:52 UTC 2018

> This also made me realize of two things:
> 0. Haskell will never be mainstream, because there are not a lot of
> programmers out there who are willing to do the investment required for
> learning the necessary concepts to understand and write code like the one
> shown above.
> Replace "Haskell" with "Java" in the previous sentence, and you would have
> an equally truthful statement. :) I spent years getting comfortable with OO
> languages, and then I spent years getting familiar with Haskell. For
> someone who only knows Haskell (and I know such a person), I couldn't
> imagine teaching them Java well enough to write that code!
> I speak only from my own narrow perspective. I'd say programming is hard,
but functional programming is harder. Maybe that's why Java replaced
Haskell in some universities curricula
https://chrisdone.com/posts/dijkstra-haskell-java. For some reason most
programmers I know are not scared of learning OO, but they fear functional
programming.  I think the reason might be that OO concepts like inheritance
and passing messages between objects are a bit more concrete and easier to
grasp (when you present toy examples at least). Then you have design
patterns, which have intuitive names and give some very general guidelines
that one can try after reading them (and add his/her own personal twist). I
doubt people can read the Monad laws and make any sense out of them at the
first try. Maybe FP and OO are perceived as equally hard, but that was not
my impression so far.

Semicolons... Brackets *and* whitespace delineation (which is required, and
> which is customary?) ... import "static" ... "public", "class", "private"
> ... eager evaluation ... pass-by-reference/whatever ... procedural
> statements  ... these things are all mind-boggling if you don't learn them
> early.
> In short, I don't think the investment required in Haskell is different
> than any other programming language. As with natural languages, there are
> no absolute difficulties, only relative ones.
> Well, I guess that's subjective (as our two opinions illustrate ;)). It'd
be nice to have some empirical evidence of this, but I couldn't find any
paper on the subject ...

> (This might actually be a useful point to bring up when speaking to
> non-Haskellers, so perhaps this message isn't as off-topic as I initially
> assumed.)
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