Haskell: the one language you shan’t avoid [or you will die of lame]

My apologies for the lack of professionalism in the title. I’m kidding, I really don’t care what the title says, it’s my blog. What I do care about, however, is expressing how impressed I am with Haskell as a language.

In the beginning this was the most difficult language I had ever encountered. What made it difficult, you ask? The imperative programming mindset, that everything is executed in order. The language itself, however, is my favourite to use, and the easiest.

The functional programming mindset isn’t difficult; you just need to completely forget what you’ve learnt from C or Python, because it won’t help you except when you’re working within an IO block of code. The rest is so simple that it’s unbelievable; it is how I had always envisioned programming, however the way most current programming languages are written train our minds to think otherwise.

Of course, Haskell isn’t new to the game of functional programming. If you’re an old hat, you’d immediately think of FORTRAN (it still looks cooler in all-caps, my condemnation upon the committee that decided to change that) and LISP. Haskell, however, is a culmination of all the latest research and development of functional programming to bring us one of the most advanced programming languages ever created. Really, once you get into the swing of things it becomes baffling. Overwhelming, almost, in terms of joy.

The more I learn about Haskell, the more I love it. It is just too different to any language I (or the majority of programmers and hackers) are used to. I use it for everything these days, and it’s a nice splash of colour in the imperative programming world. You can’t get much more different than a complete paradigm shift, right?

It’s fast, logical, and simple. I just thought I should let the world know. If you want to get started with Haskell, install the Haskell Platform. If you’re on GNU/Linux or one of the BSDs, it should be in your repositories. Because I’m a Gentoo Linux nut, here’s the specific installation instructions for my fellow kindred.

But a programmer is nothing if the language he is learning is accompanied with no documentation. The Haskell wiki is great – if you’re an expert. The best tutorial I could find as a beginner (note: I still am a beginner) is Miran Lipovača’s Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! That book is probably the best tutorial of programming – in any language – that I have ever read. Buy a copy if you like it; I will be very shortly.

Anyway, I’ve had my say on the matter. What do you think of Haskell, or what are your reasons not to try/use it? Respond in the comments below.

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