Sunday, 16 August 2009

Time for a change!

Over the last 8 months or so, I've learned loads about functional programming and Clojure in particular. I've implemented some toy solutions to problems (Game of Life, Ray Tracing and so on). But one thing Clojure misses is strong typing and I don't know whether I should care about that or not!.

The Type System article on Wikipedia gives a good overview of the various type systems. For the toy examples I've written so far, I can honestly say that a lack of compile time checking wasn't a problem, however it seems only fair to explore the other side too. At least then I can contribute to the debates having seen both sides. So this isn't good bye to Clojure, it's peeking over the fence to see if the grass is greener (for me) on the static side.

In order to explore type systems I had a number of options including Scala, Objective Caml or Haskell. I decided to go for Haskell on the basis that it's different (it's not on the JVM) and it seems to have a healthy community behind it.

Haskell now has a standard distribution which includes a bunch of standard libraries for things like IO, Graphics and so on. Installing this on Ubuntu was dead simple following the instructions here.

Onwards into a brave new world!