How I Learned Haskell by Writing Tiny Games

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Intermediate
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B304

Excerpt

Earlier this year, I started teaching myself Haskell by using it to write short, text-based games. In this session I'll share what I learned, both about Haskell and about learning new things.

Description

Earlier this year, I started teaching myself Haskell by using it to write short, text-based games. After years of working in dynamically typed, object oriented languages, with loads of mutable state, Haskell was a mindbending change from what I was used to, and it’s taught me new ways to think about code. In this session I’ll share what I learned, both about Haskell and about the learning process itself.

Some key points I’ll discuss on Haskell:

  • Laziness, and what it means for your code
  • How to decompose a functional design into modules
  • Typeclasses, and how they do and don’t resemble the OO notion of polymorphism
  • How to keep most of your code in pure functions
  • Monads, and why you probably don’t need to understand them yet

And on learning:

  • The value of tiny feedback loops
  • Alternating between a little theory and a little practice
  • Being willing to ask for help
  • Having clear goals
  • Taking time to explore

Tags

Haskell, learning, games

Speaking experience

I've spoken at the Agile conference in 2010 and 2012, at Agile Games in 2012, and at a number of local groups -- sadly, never in front of a camera.

This talk, though, is brand new.

Speaker