Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Haskell: the open secret

It seems like everyone is turning onto Haskell these days.

At Rails Edge last week, I saw a few telltale signs that some of the speakers (including a few members of the Rails core team) were playing with Haskell. In one case, a speaker was flipping through TextMate projects, and briefly displayed one project named "Haskell". In another case, the presenter's browser had
a link to All About Monads centered in the middle of the bookmarks bar.

Of course, I had to take the opportunity to see why these speakers were interested in Haskell. One speaker was looking into Parsec for some insights into language design (for DSLs, probably), while another was revisiting the language after he tried to learn it a few years ago.

It turns out that a few members of the Rails team have informally chosen Haskell as their language of the year this year. Nothing formal, just a bunch of folks who hang out on irc periodically trading bits and pieces of Haskell.

Somehow, I think this bodes well for both Rails and Haskell. The more people who actively look into Haskell, the easier it gets for others to follow. And the more people who take ideas from Haskell in order to apply them to other projects, the stronger those projects get.

(It's interesting that the Pragmatic Programmers put forth the idea of language-of-the-year in 2002, dubbed Haskell the language of the year, and haven't updated it in 5 years. ;-)


Paul Bissex said...

I'm a Django/Python guy, but I chose Haskell for my LOTY as well. Not so much for optimizing web apps at this point, but for the mind-expansion factor. I explained my choice further here:

Keith Lancaster said...

I picked up on Haskell a few months ago while doing some research for a presentation on Ruby dynamics I was giving to a Rails user group. I'm still a rank nuby in Haskell, but already it is informing my ruby development. I've made a point of recommending it (and FP in general) to the local Rails community.

Anonymous said...

Haskell has answers to questions that those so called "real world programming languages" (PHP, Ruby, Java, C#) haven't even asked yet.

And yes, "real world programming languages" translates to English as "languages that even not so bright guy can use to build just another e-shop site". So booring.

... J.J., self proclaimed elitist...