[Haskell] How to make Haskell more popular

Jon Fairbairn Jon.Fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
Fri Apr 1 05:28:53 EST 2005

1) If another language has a feature, add it to Haskell, so
   that absolutely everything can be done in more than one
   way.  This allows people to write Haskell programmes
   without going through the tiresome process of learning
2) Overload the syntax so that the Hamming distance between
   syntactically valid programmes is very small
3) Allow casting of any type to any other.

   2 and 3 together mean that the programmer wins the
   "fight" with the compiler more often, and can get on with
   the exciting business of debugging.
4) Add lots of libraries with widely different styles of
   interface lacking any recognisable algebraic
   properties. This makes it hard to learn the libraries, so
   the programmer gets increased satisfaction when the task
   is finally completed, and a programmer who understands a
   given library becomes more valuable in the market.
4a) write the libraries at a low level of abstraction, using
    as few sophisticated features as possible. This makes it
    easier for novice programmers to modify libraries and
    add *features*
5) Static type checking is for wimps. Move it all to
   runtime, so debugging is even more exciting. With 3, this
   allows us the glorious possibility of using the same
   value in different types with different meanings,
   mimicking PHP's wonderful strpos etc, where the return
   value zero indicates failure if it's a boolean or success
   if it's an integer.
6) Use strings for abbreviated syntax, so avoiding even
   syntax checking at compile time.
7) On second thoughts, all syntax checking is for
   wimps. Move the rest of it to runtime too. After all,
   /part/ of the programme might produce plausible output,
   and we wouldn't want to miss out on that. This adds the
   further exciting possiblity that end-users will get to
   see Haskell syntax errors, so more of the world will hear
   of Haskell.

Jón Fairbairn                              Jon.Fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk

More information about the Haskell mailing list