Granville Barnett

Something that when unnoticed in the functional world

For some reason I found myself traversing the various tech radio shows and I was on DotNetRocks and I started sifting through all the previous shows and saw that last month Simon Peyton Jones was on the show.

Now, with relation to functional programming Peyton Jones is really a very well known person in the functional space, probably for the main part due to the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC) and more recently (perhaps you have heard of it?) software transactional memory (STM).

The reason I raise this is that there have as of late been people popping up on various media where they are talking about F#, and I appreciate that a lot of these shows are very Microsoft orientated, but it is important to like anything look at the broader range of technologies - Haskell for me is an amazing language, and I prefer this still over F# although F# has that wow factor of being able to pull in imperative stuff like that in the BCL, and interop with managed code etc.

I really feel strongly about this, people should embrace varying languages in the functional space - just because F# is a product of MS doesn't mean that it is the best, both Haskell and F# have their good and bad points.  Haskell has stood the test of time and is a leader in the functional space, it has many implementations most notable GHC and Hugs.

I would like to see the developer community in a whole work with a varied amount of technologies before proclaiming that technology X is greater than technology Y.  I'll give you an example, people have been heralding Silverlight as of late, however if you question a lot of the people that use such a technology and ask them why it is better than other technologies like Flash they give you the same response that they were told by the MS marketing people - you should make up your own mind based on exploration with the said technologies. 

This directly applies to the wave of popularity storming the web with F#, do not proclaim superiority before looking at the other options available.

I just feel that too many people in the MS community have this blind notion that if it comes from MS then if must be the best thing to use, people should educate themselves about the alternatives and their benefits.

Note: I am not implying that Haskell is better than F# or vice versa, rather that each brings a great wealth to that space and should be explored accordingly.

Posted: Feb 06 2008, 04:52 PM by gbarnett | with 5 comment(s)
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