Haskell puts the complexity of programming in the right place

Submitted by metaperl on Sun, 03/13/2005 - 8:39am.

Every useful programming language has an area of complexity that you must overcome to become comfortable with the language. For Perl, you need to relax your ideas about regularity and consistency and learn to read and write Perl instinctively and trust that all of the exceptions and special cases will make as much sense in Perl as in English.

Haskell is very much a "back-end" language. What I mean is that the language just sits back and waits until you have everything lined up in a clean chain of well-typed functions. It won't do anything but keep spitting back your code at your until you have your problem reduced to something expressible in expressions.

This means you spend a lot of time with the type checker. And possibly a lot of time with making sure that your IO can make it through the snake's tube of a Monad before getting into yor program.

So, Haskell can be a big turn-off to someone who needs a language which, by Haskell standards, oversteps it bounds. If you want to mix IO and your program, If you want to quickly setup a webshop and need easy CGI processing, or any of a number of things that are highly available in languages like Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, PHP, then Haskell seems like a huge stumbling block.

But the way that Haskell quarantines I/O. The hurdles that it puts you through are there for some very very good reasons. The more experienced you become with it's advanced features such as Monads and combinators, the more you see how to crisply and accurately separate wheat from chaff, cause from effect, and smoke from fire.