A swift kick to the monads

With a title like that, I must be talking about Haskell.

When it comes to what I think of Haskell, the best I can say is that I don’t really know. On the one hand, I like a lot of what it does, how it does it, and so forth…it’s a neat language in many ways. On the other hand, like so many neat languages, it’s not something that I really see as a “part of my future”, if you know what I mean; getting really proficient at Haskell is not going to help me outside of writing little Haskell programs.

Of course, that last bit’s not entirely true. One of the joys of learning and using new languages is that it stretches your mind, maybe gives you new perspective on the things that really do bring home the bacon. So, I pretty regularly come back to spending a little quality recreational time with Haskell.

Last weekend, I got the bug again and took a gander at some of the tutorials, HOWTOs, and such on the web. To my joy, I came across “Scheme in 48 Hours”, a tutorial that takes you through the construction of a scheme compiler in Haskell. The tutorial is well-written, fast-paced enough not to put you to sleep, and with enough explanatory text (and repetition) to ensure that you’ll understand what’s going on.

I really like that “Scheme in 48 Hours” takes a different approach to teaching Haskell from other tutorials. Rather than try to present and explain individual language features, this tutorial gives you a context (the scheme compiler) in which to see the features in action. I learn well this way, as I suspect many others do, and I think that this kind of approach to teaching languages, coupled with more traditional tutorials and references, makes for the best education.

So, if you’re curious about Haskell, take a look at “Scheme in 48 Hours”. Not only will you learn Haskell, but you’ll have your very own scheme compiler…nerdvana!

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