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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • What on earth could convince someone writing a programming book for beginning programmers that having them type in examples they can't type in would be a good idea?

    I think I see your problem. Programming in Haskell is an academic text. It's written by a professor who is interested in approaching Haskell for students of mathematics. The target audience will understand the use of standard math symbols and their translations into ascii. That's one reason why it's so expensive yet so thin. It's not meant for "beginning programmers".

    For a more approachable introduction to Haskell, you should be looking at Real World Haskell. That book is geared towards a more typi

    • Haskell as a first language is not really a good idea

      The University of Melbourne used to teach Haskell as a first language to all the computer science students (they may still, but I'm not there anymore). This worked superbly well. It worked particularly well as a leveller. Those students who'd come into the computer science degree already knowing some other language were neither advantaged by their previous experience or disadvantaged by the bad habits they'd picked up. It gave a nice, sensible introduction into useful things like commenting your code, using meaningful variable names, indenting code to make it readable, breaking bigger problems up into smaller ones, thinking about types etc.

      As someone who tutored those first year students, and ran the lab classes; but who also had experience running lab classes for students going straight into C; I think Haskell made a fantastic first language. I'd happily recommend it to a friend who wanted to learn how to program.

      Fortunately for our students, we worked from the lecturer's notes and a mini-book they'd written (originally for Miranda and then converted to Haskell). So the students didn't have to do any weird symbol conversion when it came to typing stuff in.

      • They are starting to teach Haskell as a first language at the University of Edinburgh as well. However, as someone with a background in programming and the Humanities, I have to say that all the Haskell tutorials for "beginners" that I have seen online and off have all failed miseribly. After the first few examples, they tend to fly off into the realms of higher mathematics when really, all I want to do is manipulate texts.

        I have started teaching Perl to the Humanities students that I come in contact with