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Real World Haskell: Code You Can Believe In
 
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Real World Haskell: Code You Can Believe In [Kindle Edition]

Bryan O'Sullivan

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Product Description

Product Description

This easy-to-use, fast-moving tutorial introduces you to functional programming with Haskell. You'll learn how to use Haskell in a variety of practical ways, from short scripts to large and demanding applications. Real World Haskell takes you through the basics of functional programming at a brisk pace, and then helps you increase your understanding of Haskell in real-world issues like I/O, performance, dealing with data, concurrency, and more as you move through each chapter.


With this book, you will:

  • Understand the differences between procedural and functional programming

  • Learn the features of Haskell, and how to use it to develop useful programs

  • Interact with filesystems, databases, and network services

  • Write solid code with automated tests, code coverage, and error handling

  • Harness the power of multicore systems via concurrent and parallel programming


You'll find plenty of hands-on exercises, along with examples of real Haskell programs that you can modify, compile, and run. Whether or not you've used a functional language before, if you want to understand why Haskell is coming into its own as a practical language in so many major organizations, Real World Haskell is the best place to start.

About the Author

Bryan O'Sullivan is an Irish hacker and writer who likes distributed systems, open source software, and programming languages. He was a member of the initial design team for the Jini network service architecture (subsequently open sourced as Apache River). He has made significant contributions to, and written a book about, the popular Mercurial revision control system. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and sons. Whenever he can, he runs off to climb rocks.

John Goerzen is an American hacker and author. He has written a number of real-world Haskell libraries and applications, including the HDBC database interface, the ConfigFile configuration file interface, a podcast downloader, and various other libraries relating to networks, parsing, logging, and POSIX code. John has been a developer for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system project for over 10 years and maintains numerous Haskell libraries and code for Debian. He also served as President of Software in the Public Interest, Inc., the legal parent organization of Debian. John lives in rural Kansas with his wife and son, where he enjoys photography and geocaching.

Don Stewart is an Australian hacker based in Portland, Oregon. Don has been involved in a diverse range of Haskell projects, including practical libraries, such as Data.ByteString and Data.Binary, as well as applying the Haskell philosophy to real-world applications including compilers, linkers, text editors, network servers, and systems software. His recent work has focused on optimizing Haskell for high-performance scenarios, using techniques from term rewriting.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1732 KB
  • Print Length: 714 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Nov. 14 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR2FY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #207,597 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rich with info, but VERY uneven Oct. 17 2009
By C. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The good news is, this is probably the best Haskell book yet. The bad news is, it's still a frustratingly confusing jumble. It starts out well, introducing expressions, type inference, recursion, pattern matching, algebraic types, and higher order functions, with an emphasis on maps and folds (the way real world Haskell code is actually written), and it contains exercises that range from simple to challenging. The first four chapters alone are worth the price.

Unfortunately, the problems start in chapter 5, and rarely let up. It starts by introducing a datatype for JSON data for the purpose of pretty-printing it. The way the pretty-printer is rolled out is confusing -- it constantly jumps between code snippets that won't even compile, because a type they depend on is not defined til nearly the end of the chapter. And while it stays away from excessive cleverness, function names are confusingly named. In fact the entire nature of the pretty-printer revolves around a "Doc" abstraction that is never clearly explained or rationalized.

Later chapters are also rich with useful information, such as explanations of various GHC language extensions to the type system (which are really de facto standard Haskell nowadays). Unfortunately (there are many "unfortunatelys" to use in this review) I would never have been able to follow these explanations had I not already known a little about them -- unlike the rest of the examples in the book, the examples stop being "real-world" and instead devolve into meaningless metasyntax like "Foo" and "Bar".

By the time monads are finally introduced (late, but rightly so -- I consider this delay in introducing them to be a plus), the reader has had to suffer through some very tedious projects, such as parsing an obscure binary format. The book really begins to redeem itself again here, and makes monads clear as a datatype that captures common concepts of encapsulating and sequencing, and completely avoids cutesy visual analogies (no spacesuits or toxic waste here!).

I've not finished the book (I'm still in Chapter 14) but I am eagerly looking forward to its later chapters introducing monad transformers, parallel programming, and software transactional memory. You get a lot of book for the price, but you'll need the support of the always-friendly haskell community on IRC or email to make the most of this tome, or even make any sense of several parts of it.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Haskell book, but not perfect March 7 2009
By Jeremiah LaRocco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is probably the best book on Haskell available.

That said, there were some things I didn't like about it.

The biggest annoyance is that the example in Chapter 12 doesn't actually work. The point is to teach Haskell, not how to read barcodes, but example code that doesn't work just seems sloppy.

I'm also not a big fan of how the code samples are spread out over several pages, with a comment stating which file they belong to. Mostly just a pet peeve, but it does cause some problems because there are a few places where the code references variables or types that haven't been declared yet, so the code won't actually compile until you get further along. Not the end of the world, but the book suggests compiling often to avoid errors and the end of each code snippet would be a natural place to do that.

There are also a few language features that are used but not really explained or used before they're explained. The $ operator, for example, is used on page 165 (among other places), but is only briefly explained on page 248. In that case, even when $ is explained it's incidental to explaining something else (fmap and <$>).
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly organized, and not needed. June 27 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is very poorly organized, and for the life of me I can't think of an ideal audience. Some of the material targets beginners, and then the other seventy percent is completely out of reach to all but seasoned pros. The stuff targeting beginners is rather poorly worded -- the book claims no intro to functional programming is required, but the definitions of fold[lr] will send any beginner scrambling to find a decent explanation. The book has a good share of technical rants that serve to do little more than side-track: "Ok, so you've learned foldr, now for good example and test of knowledge I'll tell you it can be written in terms of foldl" -- no further explanation provided. The definitions are all around bothersome. Ultimately, I don't think I learned much at all from this book, and I'd put in the top two worst O'reilly books I've ever read (following CGI Programming with Perl). This book seems to be a really poor mix of these non-existent books: Beginning Haskell, Advanced Haskell, and the Haskell Cookbook -- and with all this said, Haskell comes off as the most difficult language I've attempted to grasp thus far.

I should add I read through this book twice, and didn't learn much the second time around either.

A ton of the book is devoted to a JSON parser, which is rather tiresome. The other "real world examples" are equally poor like a bit-shifting checksum algorithm.

Go read Learn You a Haskell if you're looking to learn the language. If not, you can try this book -- but I'm going to predict your attempt will be fruitless.
30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Haskell to come along in a long time Jan. 7 2009
By calvinnme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Until this book came along you really needed two books to learn Haskell Programming. Haskell: The Craft of Functional Programming (2nd Edition) (International Computer Science Series) teaches the mechanics of Haskell programming, but it can be dry reading. The Haskell School of Expression: Learning Functional Programming through Multimedia shows you the possibilities of Haskell via multimedia programming, but it does miss some basic details about the language that are in the first book. This second book is lots of fun, but I think that the new O'Reilly book replaces the first book entirely and some of the functionality of the second.

Haskell has its roots in academia, and functional programming requires lots of up-front thinking about your total approach. It is not a language where you can usually just sit down and start coding. This book shows you how to use functional programming and Haskell to solve real-world problems. Each chapter contains many code samples, and many contain complete applications. The book contains an application that downloads podcast episodes from the web and stores the history in an SQL database. There is also an application that takes a grainy phone camera photo of the barcode on a book and transforms it into an identifier that you can then ue to query a library website. This is the "fun stuff" that seems to work out so well and so elegantly in the Haskell language.

It is not necessary that you have any prior knowledge of Haskell or functional programming concepts, however general programming concepts are a requirement. This is certainly the first Haskell book to come along in a few years that I would recommend for the novice. As usual with the best of O'Reilly's programming books, this one is well illustrated with lots of well-commented code. The following is the table of contents:

Chapter 1. Getting Started
Chapter 2. Types and Functions
Chapter 3. Defining Types, Streamlining Functions
Chapter 4. Functional Programming
Chapter 5. Writing a Library: Working with JSON Data
Chapter 6. Using Typeclasses
Chapter 7. I/O
Chapter 8. Efficient File Processing, Regular Expressions, and Filename Matching
Chapter 9. I/O Case Study: A Library for Searching the Filesystem
Chapter 10. Code Case Study: Parsing a Binary Data Format
Chapter 11. Testing and Quality Assurance
Chapter 12. Barcode Recognition
Chapter 13. Data Structures
Chapter 14. Monads
Chapter 15. Programming with Monads
Chapter 16. Using Parsec
Chapter 17. Interfacing with C: The FFI
Chapter 18. Monad Transformers
Chapter 19. Error Handling
Chapter 20. Systems Programming in Haskell
Chapter 21. Using Databases
Chapter 22. Extended Example: Web Client Programming
Chapter 23. GUI Programming with gtk2hs
Chapter 24. Concurrent and Multicore Programming
Chapter 25. Profiling and Optimization
Chapter 26. Advanced Library Design: Building a Bloom Filter
Chapter 27. Sockets and Syslog
Chapter 28. Software Transactional Memory
Appendix A. Installing GHC and Haskell Libraries
Section A.1. Installing GHC
Section A.2. Installing Haskell Software
Appendix B. Characters, Strings, and Escaping Rules
Section B.1. Writing Character and String Literals
Section B.2. International Language Support
Section B.3. Escaping Text
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best programming books in recent years Dec 18 2008
By Gregory Knapen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the best programming books that came out in recent years regardless of language. It covers all the main concepts of the Haskell language and functional programming while at the same time showing how they can be used in real world code. Once past the first few chapters, the examples become non trivial and start to combine multiple concepts to produce short powerful programs, yet remaining totally accessible.

Maybe this is testimony to the conciseness of Haskell language, but to cover the same amount of material the examples cover in another more mainstream language would have taken several more pages if not multiple volumes. How many books cover file processing, regex, parsing, network programming, web programming, system programing, GUI programming and 2 different concurrency mechanisms while teaching a new language all that in around 600 pages. Not many. Above all this book really teaches how to design practical programs in a functional way. An area that was somewhat lacking. So this books might help a broader adoption of FP for real world stuff even if not in Haskell.

The only negatives I could find besides a few typos (It is still a first edition after all) was the usage of the $ operator in examples before it was actually explained. These are minor and don't really take anything away from this book.

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