Diving into Functional Programming

02 Aug 2014

I gave a talk a bit over 4 years ago in which I looked out at the next ten years and made the prediction that our current languages and paradigms wouldn’t hold up. More specifically, that functional programming would be pretty much required for tackling cutting edge problems. And yet, I didn’t do much about it. Sure I spent some time with Clojure, but then I’ve been using Lisp for longer than I’ve been using OO, so since about the mid 80s.

For at least five years learning Haskell has been near the top of my todo list. But there was always other things demanding my attention. Until now. I recently went to LambdaJam, and it gave me the kick in the ass I needed. I found myself in an environment where I only understood about half of what was going on around me. and I loved it. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that over my head.

So now I’m aggressively learning Haskell. I’m reading “Learn You a Haskell” and have a pile of books at the ready on Haskell, Type Systems, Algebra, and Category Theory. Every day brings multiple Ah Ha! moments. It’s changing some of my ideas about programming, which is exactly what I expected and wanted it to do.

With only a week’s experience learning Haskell under my belt I’m even more convinced that I was right four years ago: FP is the way to be working in the near term future. I don’t know what comes after it, but it’s definitely the next step forward.