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8. Haskell > Trajectory of Functional Programming

Trajectory of Functional Programming

What makes functional programming languages different from other languages?

Simon: Oh, that’s easy: control of side effects.

John: Well, careful control of side effects, obviously. First-class functions (although these are finding their way into more and more imperative languages, too). Concise notations for purely functional operations—everything from creating a data structure, to list comprehensions. I think lightweight type systems are also very important—whether they’re the purely dynamic type systems of Scheme and Erlang, or the polymorphic inference-based systems of Haskell and ML. Both are lightweight in the sense that the types don’t get in your way, even when you make heavy use of higher-order functions—and that’s really at the heart of functional programming.


  

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