Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Beginning of a New Era

I still remember the event Jobs in Functional Programming, held here in Göteborg, Sweden, the 14th December last year. It was the first event of its kind, an event to attract hackers to employers, paying for you to hack in functional programming languages! Not only were 8 companies represented in some way, 6 of them had people there explaining why you should go to their company and not someone else's :) With over 100 people registered, and about as many as came, it was a joy. Professor John Hughes, well known for his work with Haskell, was the host for the evening. John ended the event with a speech, I got reminded of it by SPJ's mail. Congratulations, btw! :) They both conclude that Haskell has become much more popular, and that it has happened very fast. Five or ten years ago we would not have dreamed of having such an event as we did. Some students found it humorous when John spoke very enthusiastically about Haskell's new won popularity. But think of it this way, twenty years ago few companies would make a fuzz about FP at all. Today C#, one of the most popular languages out there from one of the (the?) biggest computer companies out there, has lots of ideas from FP. There is also F#: Microsoft's newest addition to the .NET family, a somewhat more evolved version of OCaml, adjusted to fit into the .NET world. It's not difficult to make the prediction that Haskell will get even more attention in the near future. The times are really changing. As Hughes said in his speech, this is the beginning of a new era.

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