Learning Haskell and FP

Patrick M Doane patrick@watson.org
Tue, 2 Jan 2001 19:43:00 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 2 Jan 2001, Paul Hudak wrote:

> > Unforunately, the "Gentle Introduction To Haskell" that
> > haskell.org links to is not a very useful introduction.
> John and I should probably rename this document, since it really isn't a
> very gentle intro at all.  We should probably also downplay it's
> prominance on the haskell website.  It was written rather quickly many
> years ago, at a time when there was not a single textbook on Haskell. 
> So it's probably outlived it's purpose, although I do believe that some
> people still find it useful.

As another point of reference, I decided it was time to learn Haskell
recently and this guide is what I started with. I'm familiar with Standard
ML and O'Caml, and found the guide to be very easy to read and was a good
starting point. I had enough information that I could read other Haskell
source and understand what it was trying to do even if I didn't feel
comfortable about all the details for writing programs.

However, a related issue that has been causing a lot of difficulty is
system installation. I'm primarily interested in building stand-alone
executables where speed is an important factor, so ghc seemed the best
system to work with. I've been unable to get this to work at all on a
Windows system. It seems configured to use dynamic libraries but doesn't
come with any in the package. I tried building from source, but it
requires Happy to build (and that too needed the .dlls). 

On the Unix side, the installation was much smoother. I installed from
source using the FreeBSD port system and everything came together without
a hitch (it was a rather lengthy compile process though!).

There is a definite lack of "Getting Started" material in the ghc

Documentation on libraries is also rather distributed. Sometimes I need to
look in the GHC manual about a library that is included with the
distribution, other times I need to look in the Haskell standard library
report. And if that fails, look in the Haskell standard language report
for information on what is included in the Prelude. Collecting this
information together would be a big benefit. 

I've installed Hugs on the Windows side recently, and it seemed to boot up
okay. I haven't tried looking into its documentation to see if things are
any different.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the lannguage design and am excited about
its future.