Top critical review
23 people found this helpful
It might be ok if you're a student, but...
on 11 September 2008
of little use if you're a professional, like me, who wants to really get down to using the language. There are several problems with the book:
1. It mixes up mathematical notation with code. If I'm reading code then I want to see code. It's irritating and occassionally confusing. I haven't seen any other books do this, and there's a good reason for it.
2. There is not a single example of anything useful! Not how to open a file, or write to a file, for instance.
3. What is there is a duplication of existing libraries. You get to build a parser when there is already the famous Parsec library out there. It would be MUCH more useful to have done this using Parsec. You'll also recreate several standard (Prelude) functions, though the author never makes it clear when this is happening. Other books (The Haskell Road to Logic, Maths and Programming, for example) do not do this and are much better for it.
4. The book does not contain the answers to the exercises. You can only get the answers from Cambridge University Press if you are an instructor of a course. So unless you are a student, you will never see the answers. Perhaps your code will compile. Perhaps it will work. But you'll never get the invaluable insight of seeing a pro's coded answer. Rubbish! Cambridge Press just gave me a big fat "No" when I asked for the answers, and didn't bother to reply to my request for justification, even though I paid the same amount as any student.
All in all, one of the poorest programming books I've come across. If you're a student, then you've been told to buy it because it's on your course. Otherwise, pick a different book, any other book. Real World Haskell looks a lot, lot better (or the Haskell Road...)