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Re: Functional programming

Subject: Re: Functional programming
From: "Ihe Onwuka ihe.onwuka@xxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 07:31:22 -0000
Re:  Functional programming
On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 7:34 AM, davep davep@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <
xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> On Mon, 5 May 2014 13:20:54 -0000
> "Ihe Onwuka ihe.onwuka@xxxxxxxxx"
> <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > On Mon, May 5, 2014 at 2:04 PM, davep davep@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <
> > xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >  Many functional programming
> > > books begin by focusing on the more difficult concepts such as
> > > recursion and immutability.
> >
> >
> > They are not more difficult, they are just different
> Read the archives of this list.
What new insight will I gain from doing that?

> >
> >
> > > This book lets you dive right in to
> > > functional programming by teaching the most useful implementation
> > > concepts first.
> > >
> > >
> > It would be fascinating (illuminating I doubt it) to discover what
> > concepts the author considers to be more useful than recursion and
> > immutability.
> Then read the book?
Why? When the author has already signposted an intent to "teach  the most
useful implementation concepts" by circumlocuting the most basic
foundational building blocks of the paradigm.

Once upon a time there was no such thing as a bad functional programming
book. See for example the penultimate paragraph of this post

Since FP started to become fashionable,and all sorts of authors have
started to emerge that is no longer true.

> >
> > Forgive the skepticism but every time I have bought an FP book not
> > written by an academic (i.e Practical this or Pragmatic that) I have
> > regretted it.
> >
> > It's either golly gosh wow look at this new powerful stuff, or much
> > like imperative programming books it's a very subjective take on what
> > functional programming should be about.
> >
> > With very few exceptions  the best books on learning FP were all
> > written at least 10 years ago.
> That's a view.
> From Basic to SICP is a big step.

Trying to teach FP by starting from Basic (substitute your favourite
imperative language) is a fools errand. Almost, but not quite, as foolish
as pretending you can teach FP by avoiding recursion and immutability.

That's not to say people won't buy or read the book. Lots of people with
years of imperative programming experience will read it and abandon it
without learning enough to transition because it's human nature to resist
accepting that sometimes the best way to learn something is to accept that
you are better off starting from scratch. The people who  say they don't
have time to do that will end up taking far longer to get there.

> regards
> --
> Dave Pawson
> http://www.dpawson.co.uk

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