[Haskell] Newbie: what are the advantages of Haskell?

Rob Hoelz hoelz at wisc.edu
Thu Apr 26 14:21:53 EDT 2007

phiroc at free.fr wrote:

> Hello,
> what are the advantages of haskell over semi-functional programming
> languages such as Perl, Common Lisp, etc.?
> What are the mysterious "side effects" which are avoided by using
> Haskell, which everyone talks about? Null pointers?
> Don't you ever get null pointers in Haskell, including when doing IO?
> Aren't Haskell's advantages outweighed by its complexity (Monads,
> etc.) and rigidity?
> Last but not least, I would like to learn from those among you who
> are former PERL developers, why you switched to Haskell.
> Many thanks.
> phiroc
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There are plenty of advantages to Haskell; but it doesn't mean that
it's the only language I use now.  I read an article about Perl vs.
Python once, and the point that stuck with me most was "The Perl motto
is TMTOWTDI, and Python's just another WTDI."  The same applies to
Haskell, or any other language for that matter.  I love Haskell; my
code is usually bug-free (or close) the first time I run it because of
its features like having no side effects.  But I still use Perl for
system administration, and I'm developing a window manager in Scheme
now because of its features.

As far as Haskell's disadvantages, I don't see monads as a
disadvantage; most descriptions of them are complicated, but there are
plenty of good tutorials out there.  Rigidity is a double edged sword;
it helps keep your code working, but it does make you jump through some
hoops to get certain things working.

-Rob Hoelz

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