Application letters at the Haskell workshop: suggestion

Alastair David Reid
12 Sep 2001 18:33:30 -0600

I think there's a lot of truth in all you said in your message and I
make the following comment merely as a point of information.

> I think I speak for the majority of 'industrial' programmers when I
> say Haskell is a very difficult language to approach. I believe a
> great deal of this difficulty stems from lack of documentation. 

I think the Advanced Functional Programming books (which are
proceedings of the advanced functional programming summer schools)
are great for explaining some of the tricks/idioms required to
use Haskell effectively for larger systems.

But there's still the problem of knowing that these are worth seeking
out (merely listing them in amongst 100 other books, articles and
papers isn't enough) and when you should read them (once you've
mastered Bird and Wadler (ahem, Richard Bird's "Introduction to
Functional Programming") or some similar book) or even of knowing
where they are listed (2/3 of the way down the Haskell Bookshelf page:

I also have a question:

> Speaking as an 'industrial' programmer who gave a 30-minute application
> presentation at the International Python Conference earlier this year,

I think you'll need to educate us as to what kind of conference this
is, what kind of paper it was, etc.  In particular:

1) Who is in the audience?

   Is it other python users or is it python library developers
   or is it python compiler writers/porters?
   And if all three, then who make up the bulk of the audience, 
   who were you primarily directing yoru talk at?

2) What was the point of your paper?

   To suggest improvements in the language or libraries?
   To suggest a need for development tools?
   To suggest a neat coding trick?
   To describe some useful tool or library that python users might
    find useful when writing python?
   To describe some useful application that people might find useful
    for something other than writing python?
   To show that python is useful for some new application domain?
   To add to a body of concrete examples of people doing something
    useful with python?
   Other [the fact that I can't think of other points reflects my lack
    of imagination and narrow focus not anything else]

3) [this is partly covered by the above]
   What did you want to achieve in writing the paper and what did
   people at the conference or reading the proceedings hope to learn?

Alastair Reid