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Functional Programming: A PragPub Anthology: Exploring Clojure, Elixir, Haskell, Scala, and Swift 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
Five Questions for the Editor of Functional Programming: A PragPub Anthology
Q: This book is titled 'Functional Programming: A PragPub Anthology.' What’s a PragPub?
A: PragPub is a monthly magazine by and for software developers that I created in 2009 for the Pragmatic Programmers. It began as a showcase for the authors of their books, and has evolved into an independent publication. But we still have a close relationship with the Pragmatic Programmers, and we still feature many of their authors. This book, for example, includes chapters by Stuart Halloway, Venkat Subramaniam, and Dave Thomas, all of whom have written well-received books on the subjects they write about in this book.
Q: OK, how about the Anthology part? This is a collection of articles from the magazine?
A: It’s that, but I tried to put together a book that makes sense on its own. The chapters here are based on a selection from over a thousand articles we’ve published in the course of the past eight years. The idea was to look at one topic from a variety of perspectives, and with each perspective to have some introductory chapters and some more advanced chapters. Once I settled on a topic, I had a lot of articles on this topic to choose from, and I left out some really good ones because they didn’t fit the purpose of this particular book. Maybe they’ll be in the next one.
Q: And that one topic is functional programming?
A: Yes, and the different perspectives on it are are its implementation five different languages: Clojure, Elixir, Haskell, Scala, and Swift. Each language embraces functional programming differently, implements functional capabilities in its own way, and encourages different styles of functional programming. It’s a matter of emphasis. I thought it would be useful to see these different perspectives on functional programming side by side.
Q: So readers can see which approach they prefer?
A: That, and because there’s virtue in seeing the same idea from different perspectives. You get a more rounded mental model of the concept. Take the avoidance of mutable state. That’s considered a defining feature of functional programming, but you see it differently if you think of it as a useful technique to use in certain circumstances as opposed to the default way to write functions. Seeing it from both those perspectives, I’m convinced, leads to a richer understanding.
Q: You mentioned the next book. Will there be more PragPub Anthologies?
A: The market willing. I have two more in the planning stages. Functional programming was a pretty obvious place to start. It’s a hot topic for programming books right now and it’s a particular interest of mine. We’ll probably return to it with a different approach, because there’s definitely a good solid book’s worth of functional programming material in the magazine. But the next one will probably be something quite different. And of course we keep publishing the magazine. The key article that the whole book coalesces around may be one we publish next month or the next.
About the Author
Michael Swaine has been a technology writer and editor since before the birth of the personal computer. He chronicled that birth in Fire in the Valley, the seminal history of the personal computer, which was selected by Business 2.0 magazine as one of the 100 best business books of all time and is the basis for the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, which was nominated for five Emmys. He lived close to the flame as one of the founding editors of InfoWorld magazine in the early 1980s, where he daily talked with the programmers and engineers who were inventing the world we live in today.
Many followers of technology know Mike from his long association with the much-loved programmer's magazine Dr. Dobb's Journal, where he served as editor-in-chief, associate publisher, and editor-at-large and authored the decades-spanning columns Programming Paradigms and Swaine's Flames. While serving as editor-at-large he also found time to write for or edit numerous publications in the United States, Germany, and Italy, including the San Francisco Examiner, Upside, Farmer's Almanac, MacUser, UnixReview, Business Software, Southern Exposure (an Oregon lifestyle magazine he co-created), and the Whole Earth Catalog, as well as writing and serving as a model for a comic strip and co-owning a gourmet restaurant, organic farm, and artisan bakery.
Today Mike is the editor of PragPub, a monthly magazine for programmers that he created in 2009, and continues to write and edit books on technology. Also he creates puzzles.
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