String != [Char]

Gabriel Dos Reis gdr at
Mon Mar 26 02:39:38 CEST 2012

On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 6:54 PM, Henrik Nilsson <nhn at> wrote:

> In any case, this is hardly the place to to discuss how to best
> teach Haskell or programming in general.

Sure, I haven't seen any disagreement with that.

Note however that the "pedagogical" arguments was brought
in as support for the [Char] definition.  It is only natural that it being
challenged on that ground.

> Nor is the Haskell standard a vehicle to prescribe how Haskell
> should be taught or for what reasons Haskell should be taught:

I have not seen any assertion to that effect.

> that can only be decided by individual educators based in their
> experience and given a specific teaching context.

True, but should the language definition default to a string type
that is one the most unsuited for text processing in the 21st
century where global multilingualism abounds?  Even C has qualms
about that.

> Given intimate knowledge of our specific teaching context
> here at Nottingham, I can say that removing String = [Char]
> from the language wouldn't be helpful to us.

I have no doubt believing that if all texts my students have to
process are US ASCII, [Char] is more than sufficient.  So, I have
sympathy for your position.  However,  I doubt [Char] would be
adequate if I ask them to shared texts from their diverse cultures.
Should the language definition make it much harder to share such
experience in classroom when the primary argument for [Char]
is pedagogy?

-- Gaby

More information about the Haskell-prime mailing list