[plt-scheme] Re: from hell to paradise

From: Grant Rettke (grettke at acm.org)
Date: Tue Feb 17 20:12:44 EST 2009

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 7:00 PM, Prabhakar Ragde <plragde at uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> Grant Rettke wrote:
>> Also Peter Siebel's
>> "Practical Common Lisp" or the "Real World Haskell" book are what
>> people want to see so they feel like they are "doing something
>> valuable" with what they learn. I don't see that in the FP world.
> I'm confused -- those books are in the FP world. Do you want something like
> them for Scheme?

I am arguing that if "we" want to see FP adopted; it needs to be
presented in a manner that is deemed acceptable to the mainstream.
Siebel and RWH are two books that do this. If we want to see Scheme
adopted; then this is what needs to happen. That is my understanding
of the market.

> I would point to the v4 documentation, already an order of
> magnitude better than that for any comparable tool. I expect it to get
> better. (If HtDP were a wiki, it would be transformed by now.)

The V4 documentation is brilliant; but it is not aimed at the masses.

>> Another example is showing the value of "pure functional programming".
>> Other than HtDP, I have yet to be able to find a book that teaches how
>> to, and the value of, designing purely functional programs. I have
>> asked just about everyone I could find and there is still only one
>> that I can point too.
> In Scheme, no, though I would say that TSPL doesn't make a big deal of
> mutation, and neither does Paulson's "ML For The Working Programmer". But
> what about Hutton's "Programming in Haskell", or Hudak's "The Haskell School
> of Expression", or Okasaki's "Purely Functional Data Structures", or Rabhi
> and Lapalme's "Algorithms: A Functional Programming Approach"?

Which one of these shows the programmer how to write web apps, or a
streaming MP3 server?

I don't even care about that and don't find it very compelling; but a
*lot* of people do.

HtDP, Paulson, and Okasaki are on my list; but they are not written to
"win people over".

> Perhaps I can draw an analogy with environmentalism.

I think your point is that at some point you need to stand up for what
you value and show other people that they can do the same thing.

I agree. I think we are just discussing the means by which this occurs.

If you want to "play the game"; you could move it along a lot faster
than a wholesome, organic approach.

I prefer the latter. Perhaps that makes me lazy and inflexible, or
vigilent and steadfast?

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