Trying Out Functional Programming - Episode 4

My bad experience with Haskell drove me to conclude (prematurely) that there was little I could ever hope to achieve using the functional programming style. It turns out that I was wrong. Erlang actually makes practical programming possible in a functional style.

Erlang is backed by years of success for Ericsson and demonstrates the value of focussing on productivity for developing real systems rather than conforming to a philosophical ideal as Haskell does. This gives Haskell many merits, but they are mostly irrelevant to me. On to learning Erlang…

Erlang is in active use primarily in telecoms where I/O is a obviously a major concern. Haskell eschews side-effects, which makes I/O FUBAR. Haskell's reasons for this are perfectly sound, but they also make Haskell entirely inappropriate for my purposes.

The tutorials and video presentations about Erlang are very practically focussed, showing how it can be used to switch telephone calls and create servers that respond to inbound requests. Haskell tutorials (in my experience) focus on language semantics (like its type system) and focus on examples of modeling mathematical expressions. Its my fault for not researching the languages properly. It would have been immediately apparent that Haskell was an inappropriate language for implementing RESTful servers.

Stay tuned for Episode 5…