Thursday, 22 May 2014

Promoting Functional Programming - A Missed Opportunity

One of the blog posts that seemed to get a fair bit of attention on Twitter a little while back was “Functional programming is a ghetto” by Michael O. Church. Whilst I really enjoyed the first 6-7 paragraphs, the rest just raised my ire. This post, for me, was a classic violation of the Separation of Concerns, as applied to writing. But more than that I felt the author had shot themselves in the foot by missing out on a great opportunity to help promote the virtues of functional programming techniques.

If you’ve read the post you’ll see that the early paragraphs are about how they apply aspects of functional programming alongside other paradigms to try and get the best of all worlds. But then for some reason he’s starts talking about how IDE’s suck and that the command-line is the tool of choice for functional programmers. Sorry, but what has tooling got to do with language paradigms?

So, instead of staying focused and finishing early on a high note and therefore providing us with some great material that we can promote to others, I find myself opposing it. I want to promote good articles about functional programming but not at the expense of myself appearing to side with some Ivory Tower attitude. I once tried to pass on the post but found myself having explain why they should ignore the drivel after paragraph 7.

Hopefully, they’ll refactor the blog post and siphon off the rant so that the good content is left to stand on its own.

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