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Customer Review

32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Haskell to come along in a long time, January 7, 2009
This review is from: Real World Haskell (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
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