Going to ICFP

Right now I'm organising a trip to Internation Conference on Functional Programming the coming week. We are two PhD students and four undergrads who are going together. It's going to be a lot of fun! Watch this space for reports from the conference.


Haskell and its community

I belong to the Haskell community and have done so pretty much since I leaned the language back in 1995 (although I learned a dialect called Gofer back then). I very much like Haskell and one key thing I like about it is that it encourages high level programming and very abtract programming. It is very easy and fun to write a very general piece of software. Likewise I like the Haskell community. There are lots of really brainy people around and pretty much all of them are attracted to Haskell for the same reason; it elegance.

But these things that I like about Haskell and its community are also the biggest drawback. In most programming language programmers take pride in writing complete programs for a specific purpose. You can easily find many programs whose name have the prefix py, indicating a program written in Python. The Perl community has produced loads of useful programs. Not to mention C. What programs have the Haskell community produced? Virtually none. Well, there is GHC, but I don't count that. Then there are small programs such as darcs and lambdabot. But are there any more examples?

The problem is that Haskell programmers take too much pride in writing elegant and general libraries. It has become a kind of game to tweak the type system to get the library extremely generic and compact, providing both very high-level combinators and type safety. This game is fun and intellectually stimulating. But libraries of this sort will not give Haskell any fame or widespread use. What we need is to start writing real programs in Haskell. Programs that people use. The libraries are there. Sure, one can never get enough of libraries but we certainly have a critical mass of them. We need to start hacking for real!


More quotes

I'm a real quote fan. Here's the quote of the day:
Language was given to Man so that he may conceal his thoughts from others.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

This guy, La Rochefoucauld, has a dire list of nice quotes. Some of the can be found on the quotationspage.


Quilt nerds

I spent the past Saturday helping my soon-to-be-mother-in-law on a quilting fair. She runs her own quilt store and had a booth at this fair. It was fun. Quilting actually appeals to me although I'm not that much into sewing. Many of the patterns they use are very geometric and appeals to the math nerd in me.

It was fascinating to see all the mid-aged women there being extatic over all the quilt stuff. They really are quilt nerds. I guess many people have a little nerd inside them when it comes to the things they really like to do.


Here's a nice quote from the book I'm currently reading:

-What is happiness?
- It is the possibility to fully make use of ones capacity.

Napoleon Bonaparte

(My translation from swedish, which was translated from english, which was translated from french)

While I don't fully agree with this quote it is fairly close to the truth. I think there are other aspects to happiness as well such as sharing your life with others. But anyway it's a nice quote.


Happy hacking

Yesterday I badly needed to do some hacking and a little project showed up. I added an %expect directive to Happy. Took me about 2 hours. It was a nice little project.

Now you're probably confused about some things here. Let me explain. Happy is a parser generator for the programming language Haskell. The %expect directive can be found in yacc/bison and lets the programmer get rid of any warnings for conflicts in his grammar by saying exactly how many warnings there are.

Watch out for the next release of Happy.

It's time

OK, it's time that I get myself a blog. I've had this urge for quite a while now. I need to write. I need to get things out of my head. A blog seems like the thing I need.