Beginning Haskell: A Project-Based Approach - PDF

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Beginning Haskell: A Project-Based Approach by Alejandro Serrano Mena

Functional programming is gathering momentum. Mainstream languages such as Java and C# are adopting features from this paradigm; and languages such as Haskell, Scala, Clojure, or OCaml, which embody functional programming from the very beginning, are being used in industry. Haskell is a noise-free, pure functional language with a long history, having a huge number of library contributors and an active community. This makes Haskell a great tool for both learning and applying functional programming.


Why You Should Learn Functional Programming

The rise in functional programming comes from two fronts. Nowadays, most applications are heavily concurrent or need to be parallelized to perform better. Think of any web server that needs to handle thousands of connections at the same time. The way you express the intent of your code using Haskell makes it easier to move from a single-thread application to a multi-threaded one at a negligible cost.


Apart from becoming more concurrent, applications are becoming much larger. You would like your development environment to help you catch bugs and ensure interoperation between all modules of your system. Haskell has a very strong type system, which means that you can express a wide range of invariants in your code, which are checked at compile time. Many of the bugs, which previously would be caught using tests, are now completely forbidden by the compiler. Refactoring becomes easier, as you can ensure that changes in your code do not affect those invariants.


Learning functional programming will put you in a much better position as a developer. Functional thinking will continue permeating through mainstream programming in the near future. You’ll be prepared to develop larger and faster applications that bring satisfaction to your customers.


Why You Should Read this Book

This book focuses both on the ideas underlying and in the practicalities of Haskell programming. The chapters show you how to apply functional programming concepts in real-world scenarios. They also teach you about the tools and libraries that Haskell provides for each specific task. Newcomers to functional programming will not be the only ones who will benefit from reading this book. Developers of Scala, Clojure, Lisp, or ML will be also able to see what sets Haskell apart from other languages.


The book revolves around the project of building a web-based strorefront. In each of the five parts the focus is on a subsystem of this store: representing clients and products in-memory, data mining (including parallelization and concurrency), persistent storage, discount and offers, and the general architecture of the application. The topics have been carefully selected for you to get a glimpse of the whole Haskell ecosystem.


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