Haskell From The Very Beginning

Author: John Whitington
Publisher: Coherent Press
Pages: 214
ISBN: 978-0957671133
Print: 095767113X
Kindle: B07YYN2BQ8
Audience: would-be Haskell developers
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

As a functional language, Haskell takes a different approach to programming to most other languages. This book aims to teach you how it works.

The book makes no assumptions about programming knowledge, so starts off from the very basics of entering a Haskell command to carry out an arithmetic sum. The author, John Whitington has experience of  teaching programming to students on the Foundations of Computer Science course at the UK University of Cambridge, and this practical background shows through in the approach he takes.

 

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The opening chapter is followed by another scene setter on names and functions before moving onto the main subject matter of the book with chapters on writing and using Haskell scripts, and introducing pattern matching and lists. 

The book continues with chapters on sorting, functions, errors, keys, the data types, trees, and real numbers. A chapter on being lazy introduces the idea of repeats, after which the author goes on to input and output, and building bigger programs, and the book ends with a chapter on the standard prelude and base.

 

Throughout the book, chapters end with a set of questions to ascertain whether you've understood the chapter topic, and a 'So Far' section with thumbnail descriptions on everything you ought to know by this point in the book.

This is a hard book to sum up. I often think authors spend too much time on the concepts of a programming language, and not enough time on the practicalities. In some ways this book goes too far the other way; I'd have liked more preamble in the chapters telling me the big idea. I do admit that much of my 'bits missing' feeling is probably down to the fact that as a polymorphically-statically-typed, lazy, purely functional language Haskell just does things differently. Interestingly, despite my caveats, I'm pretty sure that if I worked through all the examples, rather than just reading the book, I could come out as someone who could write Haskell programs, and that's pretty much all you can ask of a book about programming in a new language.

If you're planning on learning Haskell, I'd recommend you get this book. You might want a companion volume on the big ideas behind Haskell and its design, but this book will fill you in on how to actually code Haskell.
 

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The Object-Oriented Thought Process (5e)

Author: Matt Weisfeld
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0135181966
Print: 0135181968
Kindle: B07Q3SGD1S
Audience: Developers using C#, C++, Java
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Mike James

Getting inside the object-oriented thought process is a trick worth knowing. Does this book hack it?



Coding for Kids

Author: Mike McGrath
Publisher: In Easy Steps
Date: February 2019
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1840788396
Print: 1840788399
Kindle: B07NVQXYCG
Audience: Kids wanting to code
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Ian Elliot
There are a lot of books for getting kids started on computer programming - why this one?


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