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3.9 out of 5 stars
Beginning Haskell: A Project-Based Approach
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
Learning a functional programming language such as Haskell can be challenging for anyone who learned programming with a procedual programming language. I found this book helpful in bettering my understanding of Haskell.

To the newcomer writings about Haskell are often clouded by layers of bewildering discussions on category theory, functors,
arrows, monoids and, above all, the Monad. While readers of Alejandro's book won't miss out on theory where it is essential, the more daunting theoretical aspects are not mentioned for a good part of the book in which readers already can get their feet wet if they choose to solve the exercises posed in each chapter. This works out well. At no point did I find myself just following concepts that are thrown at me without understanding them.

Throughout the book new concepts are introduced and put to use in practical examples. While this works well, I find this does not do the proclaimed 'project based approach' justice. Then again If the subtitle had just been left out there would be nothing for me to complain about.

The material is up to date and thus features chapters dealing with topics such as lenses or cabal sandboxes. Both of which are not covered in any of the currently available Haskell books (that I am aware of). The author uses EclipseFP and cabal for project setup. However the use of eclipse is completely optional and I can follow just fine using vim and cabal on the command line.

There are typing errors here and there but for the first edition of a 400+ book this can be excused.

Prior to the publication of this book my recommendation to aspiring Haskell programmers would have been to buy 'Real World Haskell' and 'Learn You A Haskell For Great Good'. Now I would say your best bet is to get 'Beginning Haskell' and 'Learn You A Haskell For Great Good' (And also read it in that order). Thus my verdict: 4 out of 5 stars. Well done.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
"Beginning Haskell" is a good, fast-paced, and practical introduction to programming in Haskell. The emphasis is on practical hands-on programming rather than theoretical concepts and type theory which tend to dominate other books on Haskell. There is, however, an unstated assumption that you already have some programming experience, preferably in a functional programming language, and that you do know your way around computers and the world wide web. I would recommend this book to those who already have programming experience in other languages and who wants a practical "how do I develop things in Haskell" book.

The book begins by explaining how to install your Haskell development environment on Linux, OS X, or Windows, and then rather quickly, in the first few chapters, goes through the basics of functional programming in Haskell. From there on the emphasis shifts to implementing practical algorithms and solutions in Haskell. This is done by leveraging the full Haskell ecosystem with parallelism, database access, web frameworks, DSLs, parsing, testing, documentation, etc. The book uses a simplified top-down application development perspective for this and introduces the necessary Haskell concepts as it goes along without getting bogged down in theory.

This book is similar in spirit to the book "Real World Haskell" by O'Sullivan et al., but it is less wordy and has more "real world" feel to it than "Real World Haskell". It is not as refined as "Real World O'Caml" by Minsky et al., but rather ends up somewhere in between the two.

As alluded to above "Beginning Haskell" is not an introduction to programming. If you are looking for an introduction to programming then Graham Huttons "Programming in Haskell" is an excellent book to start with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is the best Haskell book available if you want to learn modern Haskell at a reasonably fast pace, and close to the reality of actually implementing useful things. It has some issues, listed below, but while these are significant, the book in total is still good enough to warrant 5 stars.

The problems are all due to lack of proof reading/quality assurance. There's plenty of spelling mistakes, a couple of places the pacing could be better and throughout the book, examples contains references to earlier code that exists in multiple variants. Some library interfaces have also changes slightly since the publication of this book.

This book deserves a second edition with proper QA and proofreading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is VERY fast paced. If this were my first book on Haskell, I think I'd be rather overwhelmed. Often times the writing is not very clear. As others have mentioned, it could have benefitted from more editing and revising, not only to clean up typos and grammatical errors, but also to make the text more readily understandable. If you are serious about studying Haskell, this is definitely a worthwhile read, but I'd start with another book first.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book was written by someone who clearly loves programming languages and Haskell. "Beginning Haskell" starts with the basics and ends with an introduction to dependent typing (!). This might give you the idea of the ambitious scope of the book. There is almost every conceivable topic here that you would want in a Haskell book. I liked this book so much that I first purchased it as an ebook and then decided get a printed copy.

The book does not shy away from talking about the advanced features of Haskell. Every few pages Alejandro talks about how to use a new GHC language extension or a powerful library. In that sense this book will be useful to those people who want to use Haskell as it is today instead of a lowest common denominator Haskell 98. I would recommend a little bit of prior Haskell experience for those interested in purchasing the book.

It was wonderful to see Alejandro start the book by introducing EclipseFP -- a fantastic Haskell IDE which does not seem to have received the prominence and traction it deserves in the Haskell community.

The author builds various components of an imaginary "time machine store" throughout the book to show you Haskell code. While some of the examples are really good, sometimes, I would have preferred something more "down to earth" and less contrived. It would also have been awesome to have the book source code open sourced on GitHub or similar.

These are small imperfections to an otherwise fantastic book! I whole heartedly recommend it!
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on August 19, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Extensive and practical but not a beginner's book. Hence the loss of a star, for being somewhat misleading.
This is more in the tradition or "Real World Haskell" which needs a new edition.
If you have been exposed to Scheme or Clojure or Lisp, etc. Then this can serve as a beginning text for Haskell, otherwise;
beginners would do well, to have a go at "Learn You A Haskell For Greater Good" first; which IS a beginners book;
and if the sophomoric tone gets on your nerves, you could also try Thompson's "Craft of Functional Programming" 3rd edition; beware of earlier editions as they are from before the 2010 Haskell revision and may use deprecated compilers.
Many other Haskell texts from the previous decade also use Unicode symbols which will require translating to ASCII if you wish to use the REPL to play with the examples.
Happily all the above mentioned have their examples in ASCII, so you can copy them out and they will most likely compile;
as long as you remember to set your tabs to spaces, which is the #1 noob headache for first time Haskellers.
I welcome more books on Haskell and this certainly fits into the ecosystem of instructional Haskell texts, but it's not what I would consider a beginner's text, that said there is much here to recommend. Check the errata for corrections as there are quite a few.
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on March 31, 2015
Format: Paperback
By far the best Book on Haskell out there. We were waiting for years for such a book for the pragmatic Haskell programmer. The wait is over!

The title is a bit misleading. It sounds like it would be a book for beginners. Although it can be used very well by Haskell beginners it goes far beyond introductory material. For beginners I would suggest the first two parts of the book. Then you have a good overview and also know your monads. I think the author provides the best introduction to monads I have ever read. I would have called the book "Contemporary Haskell" but that would have probably limited the intended audience.

Whether you are new to Haskell or want to delve into more advanced Haskell material - esp. in parts 3 and 4 of the book - "Beginning Haskell" is a clear buy!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book suffers some major flaws. First, I think someone new to Haskell (or not already familiar with a similar language) will really struggle with the pace of the material. So in that regards, its not really a "Beginning" book. Beginners will benefit far more from the book Learn You a Haskell for Great Good. Secondly, there isn't a single page that is without one or more: spelling errors, grammatical errors, or just plain awkward English sentences. This is really distracting, especially in technical books where language needs to be precise. It is obvious that English isn't the author's first language, so I can forgive him. However, the publisher should have put more effort into editing the manuscript before setting it to paper. By the shear quantity of mistakes, I suspect that they never even bothered reading it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Typos and bad grammar everywhere. I've read reviews elsewhere that say there are technical inaccuracies (didn't get far enough to verify this myself). I would be disappointed even if the book was free. Look elsewhere for a good book to learn Haskell with, at least until another edition is released.
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3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended book in a context where there is not much literature on this subject.

The best rating
Enjoy using the concepts of the book because it's well thought-out and written clearly.
Absolutely recommended this topic
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