First Thoughts on Haskell

November 7, 2016

First experiences learning Haskell during an Introduction to Functional Programming course

I recently had the privilege of attending a 3 day course on Functional Programming. Tony Morris led us through a repo of exercises that were designed to teach us FP concepts while we reimplement parts of the Haskell standard library.

I was a little hesitant going into the course as I had never written any Haskell before. Fortunately the language seems to have quite a clean syntax and was surpisingly easy to pick up. A quick lecture on the morning of the first day was all it took to get me up to the level where I could read and write enough Haskell to get my hands dirty working on the exercises.

I found that the language has a similar feel to python where the syntax really just gets out of your way so you can focus on whatever it is you are trying achieve. Given my previous exposure to learning functional programming has been with in Scala, this was a refreshing change.

I think the language has gained a somewhat underved stigma because of how academically orientated the Haskell community is. The fact that it is the product of the academy doest not necessarily mean that it is going to be more complicated or hard to learn that other languages. This stigma leads to people like myself thinking that the language is going to be much harder to pick up that it actually is and not trying it sooner.

If you have never tried Haskell I encourage you to put your preconceptions aside and just give it a go.