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Practical Foundations for Programming Languages Hardcover – 17 Dec 2012
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"Harper's book provides a comprehensive treatment of the foundations of computation. He touches on a surprising range of concepts that arise in language design: from simple types to polymorphism to dependent types to modules; from strict to lazy to parallel computation; and from proof techniques for reasoning about extensional behavior to practical, compositional cost models in the presence of garbage collection. More importantly, throughout the book he uses types and the principles of type theory to organize the material and help us discover the orthogonal, composable abstractions that arise naturally not only in the design of programming languages but also in logics and mathematics. This approach helps uncover the fundamental structure lurking inside programming languages of today, and provides a principled approach to the designs for tomorrow."
Greg Morrisett, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
"Starting with a mathematically simple framework and organizing principles that give type systems a central role, Bob Harper's magnum opus reveals the theory of programming languages as a coherent scientific subject with both breadth and elegance. His enormous experience, pithy views, and great good taste are evident throughout a book that deserves to become a classic."
Andrew Pitts, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
"This book offers an excellent introduction to a wide range of programming language concepts. They are all uniformly and carefully explained, using techniques that are very useful in practice for both analysis and implementation of programming languages. The book is authored by one of the most prominent researchers in type theory for programming languages. The presentation is very effective and based on the author's years of experience teaching the material."
Lars Birkedal, Professor, IT University of Copenhagen
This innovative book offers fresh perspectives on the fundamentals of programming languages through type theory. Whereas most textbooks on this subject emphasize taxonomy, Harper emphasizes genetics, examining the building blocks from which all programming languages are constructed. The result is an introduction to programming theory that is accessible and practical.See all Product description
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The one thing I would have also liked to see in this book was a set of self-study problems. He has been working with and teaching this material for many years, and example problems that capture the common mistakes he has seen from students and other researchers would have helped me as I studied this book on my own.
1) If you are a graduate student and this is a required text.
2) If you are working on creating proprietary programming language. This book becomes invaluable at this point. The core structure of various programming languages allows the student to learn the guidelines for building their own programming language.
The student should already have familiarity with several styles of programming language and a firm base of advanced mathematics. If you are attempting to learn a specific programming language, this book can assist on understanding the history and framework used to create said language, but the student is better off selecting a text specifically designed for that programming language.