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Programming in Haskell [Paperback]

by Graham Hutton
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 15, 2007 0521692695 978-0521692694
Haskell is one of the leading languages for teaching functional programming, enabling students to write simpler and cleaner code, and to learn how to structure and reason about programs. This introduction is ideal for beginners: it requires no previous programming experience and all concepts are explained from first principles via carefully chosen examples. Each chapter includes exercises that range from the straightforward to extended projects, plus suggestions for further reading on more advanced topics. The author is a leading Haskell researcher and instructor, well-known for his teaching skills. The presentation is clear and simple, and benefits from having been refined and class-tested over several years. The result is a text that can be used with courses, or for self-learning. Features include freely accessible Powerpoint slides for each chapter, solutions to exercises and examination questions (with solutions) available to instructors, and a downloadable code that's fully compliant with the latest Haskell release.

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Editorial Reviews


'The best introduction to Haskell available. There are many paths towards becoming comfortable and competent with the language but I think studying this book is the quickest path. I urge readers of this magazine to recommend Programming in Haskell to anyone who has been thinking about learning the language.' Duncan Coutts, Monad Reader

'Two groups of people must consider this book. The first is professors interested in rapidly introducing students to fundamental concepts in functional programming. This book, supplemented with online resources and professorial guidance could easily serve as the textbook for a semester-long course on functional programming. The second group is programmers interested in surveying the functional paradigm as quickly as possible.' Journal of Functional Programming

Book Description

This introduction is ideal for beginners as it requires no previous programming experience and all concepts are explained from first principles via carefully chosen examples. Each chapter includes exercises that range from the straightforward to extended projects, plus suggestions for further reading on more advanced topics.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521692695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521692694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Haskell February 15, 2007
By brad
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hutton's book is an excellent introduction for programmers approaching Haskell for the first time. Hutton keeps the focus on the core concepts of the language and avoids the advanced topics (of which there are many). The book is fairly light at 171 pages, but for an introductory text I consider this appropriate - a weighty tome might intimidate a reader who just wants a introductory overview. That said, if you are already an intermediate level Haskell hacker, you will likely not find anything of use in this text.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Text! February 19, 2007
Graham Hutton has written a wonderful introduction to functional programming in Haskell. I'm using it as part of an undergraduate level course on programming languages and I'm amazed at how fast my students have understood issues with which previous classes of mine have struggled. In my opinion, this is *the* best introductory text available on functional programming in any language. Thanks Graham!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's the audience? August 26, 2010
I'm a mathematician who decided Haskell would be a good language in which to perform my latest computing task, so I looked around for learning materials. After going through some web tutorials and starting into _Real World Haskell_, I decided that maybe I should try something more basic and systematic, so I read Hutton's book. I'm glad I did, and I think I understand Haskell much better now than I did before.

The form factor of this book is really odd, essentially that of a thick magazine, like _Wired_. It has huge outer margins, with the text compressed into the middle in tiny-looking 9-point type. Thankfully, the printing is crisp, so the text is fairly readable. Choosing to set the code samples in a proportional font seems like a curious choice, especially for Haskell, where spacing matters. For a computing book, the writing is very elegant, although the organization is somewhat less systematic than I was expecting.

The most questionable aspect of this book is its audience. Ostensibly, it is written for a first university course for students with "[n]o previous programming experience", but I'm not sure how good of a fit it would be, especially for a typical U.S. student. Concepts like pointers, parsers, stacks, and compilers seem to be mentioned with the idea that readers would already know what those are. The examples in the book are largely drawn from Hutton's professional publications in functional programming. To me, these were interesting, but it's not clear how much new students would appreciate them. Contrast that with the fact that mathematical induction is discussed at length as if the reader might be unaware of it, and on page 147 the reader is referred back to a previous derivation for justification of the FOIL formula from basic algebra!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Start to Programming Haskell February 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a solid start to grasping Haskell. The first 7 chapters are good, detailed and informative with examples and exercises that are helpful and correct. In Chapter 8, the wheels sort of come off the book with text examples that don't work and extremely important information (Monads) that get glossed over with a sentence or two about purity. Unfortunately, when the detailed example in the chapters didn't work I wandered to the solutions that you can download from the site and realized that the part that was glossed over (Monads) are critical to getting the solutions to work. This sort of gap occurs in other places in the book (the Chapter 11 countdown program can't actually work without declaring "Show" instances, etc ...).

Nonetheless, rather than define the book for the gaps, I do feel like it is another solid intro to programming in Haskell but nowhere near enough to send a programmer on their way independently. Coupling the book with one of the other two texts is a good idea (Learn You a Haskell ... or the O'Reilly book).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Introductions March 6, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a software developer for the past 12 years. However, I had always worked with imperative languages. Learning Haskell is not an easy task. Mostly because it takes time to assimilate the functional paradigm, and secondly because the learning material is not very well organized. It has been practically impossible to learn Haskell using a single book, and I have bought many. However, if I had to recomend a place to start, I would certainly say it is "Programmming in Haskell".

The book covers the very basics that everyone new to Haskell and new to functional programming needs to understand. However, the book does not cover material enough to become a Haskell developer. It just covers enough to get you started with the language, and most importantly, to enable you to understand other Haskell books out ther, which on the contrary, seem to assume that one has a broader understanding on functional programming.

The reason I gave it 4 starts instead of 5 is because it uses a strange symbology in the examples which forces the reader to interpret the symbols when writing Haskell code. You have to read an appendix to interpret symbols as actual Haskell operators.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 3 big books November 1, 2011
As of the time of this review there are 3 really good introduction to Haskell books. This one which is good for someone learning to program who want Haskell as their first language.

Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide (available for free online) which is designed to get a programmer unfamiliar off the ground.
Real World Haskell (available online free) which has become the "standard text".

Graham Hutton's book, along with Thompson's Haskell: The Craft of Functional Programming (3rd Edition International Computer Science Series) are good for people starting off and I think that's why the reviews are so mixed. The books are too easy for most of the people who end up buying them. If you want to learn to program and want to do it Haskell -- which will teach you wonderful good habits -- this is a good choice. If you already know how to program try stepping up. The reviews are right that this book doesn't take you far enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Haskell book...
I really bought this book because it was a "requirement" for one of my computer science courses. It's really more of a reference than an actual programming book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Roel Orduno
5.0 out of 5 stars Great General Reference
I used this book in conjunction with "Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!" and found it to be a good compliment to learning Haskell. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ken
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible for a beginner
I am a first year Computer Science Student. I found this book frustrating to an extreme! The author regularly makes use of pseudo code which often left me feeling confused about... Read more
Published on December 14, 2011 by CSStudent
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Haskell; Outstanding Monads
Hutton is a well-known and respected authority on Haskell. This book is a very clear introduction to the essentials of Haskell: if I had to pick one book to recommend, for... Read more
Published on February 12, 2011 by B. Wise
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
If you're looking for a book to walk you through haskell and provide slides to students and instructors online, this book is great. Read more
Published on August 5, 2010 by ribaldry
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Haskell
Programming in Haskell by Graham Hutton is a great introduction to Haskell. Hutton gets into Haskell without complicating the subject. The book is just 184 pages. Read more
Published on January 19, 2010 by V. A. Raghavan
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the most elegant CS books I've read
"Programming in Haskell" is among the most elegant computer language books I've read, and it will go on my shelf next to The Little Schemer and Godel, Escher, Bach. Read more
Published on September 5, 2009 by Braddock Gaskill
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but limited in scope
Programming in Haskell is an incredibly clear and concise introduction to the basic features and modus operandi of Haskell. It is not at all dry, and very readable. Read more
Published on June 5, 2009 by K. Snavely
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, concise, good primer
If you're trying to learn Haskell (like me), then you'll probably want to reference many sources. I find this is the best way to learn. Read more
Published on November 8, 2008 by Davis
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