A History of Haskell

Recently I read a paper “A History of Haskell: Being Lazy With Class” by Paul Hudak, John Hughes, Simon Peyton Jones and Philip Wadler. Now it’s time to share some impressions.

First of all this is a very long read. It took me a couple of days to get through 55 pages of dense, two-column text. Well, if you exclude the references section length reduces to 45 pages, but that’s still quite a lot. The title can be slightly misleading. This paper is about history but it is also practically about everything related to Haskell. It describes creation of the Haskell Committee, initial meetings and discussions about language goals, features and name. But that’s only a small part of this paper. The rest is about principles, features, contributions, tools and community. Of course all of this is placed in a historical context and I must say it is very insightful to know the motivation behind some particular language features. I consider hours spent on reading this paper a very good investment. “A History of Haskell” is a great summary of Haskell’s development process as a whole. As a beginner I learned a lot of things about the language that I wasn’t aware of. Wide overview of literature presented in the paper gives a general idea on what is researched in the Haskell world, which gives me some ideas where to go with my own research. This paper is definitely a must-read for people diving into Haskell!

One Response to “A History of Haskell”

  1. George says:

    I whole-heartedly agree, thanks for writing this up.

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