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A case against Haskell immersion

Gautier DI FOLCO July 30, 2023 [dev] #haskell #engineering #career

I have just reached the 3-years-mark using Haskell in production, after 3 years as freelance Haskell teacher.

First and foremost, I'd like to emphasize that I have willingly chosen to work in Haskell, and I think, as a developer, it was one of the best move I could do.

Over these years, I was able to ship a lot of business value to the users, I have never hesitated doing huge refactoring of architectural changes just because I would be afraid of (silently) breaking something, I had the fastest feedback on my design I never had (thanks to GHC, which can be stubborn sometime), I was able to make major changes in my applications' semantic in no time.

Of course, Haskell is not the only factor (DDD, EventSourcing, CQRS, Test-Driven Development played a role), but it clearly was a pillar.

Aside of my day-to-day job, I'm one of the organizers of the Software Crafters Lyon, which focus on practising and reflecting around Software Crafting.

Along the way, I noticed that the more I was digging into Haskell ecosystem, the problem my concerns and my group members concerned diverged.

For example, while scaling up projects in Haskell in generally not a big deal (thanks to a compiler-backed composition), it seems to be a concern for others. Conversely, my main struggle was to find Haskell-grade libraries (I never had a situation where I didn't find a library for what I had to do, but I much more picky when it comes to choose a library that I was when I was working with mainstream languages). I also tend to use alternate technologies (Elm vs Angular/React, elm-ui vs Pug/SASS/SCSS, Nix/NixOS vs Docker/Kubernetes).

Which made my discussions not always productive with the other members of my group. Also, I could say that it can be an issue during hiring as many recruiters are focused on a specific set of technologies, disregarding general knowledge on software (and my vision and my approach of software engineering changed a lot, thanks to my intensive Haskell practise).

Anyway, I'm still glad to work in Haskell, and I'm glad to be part of the Software Crafters Lyon, as I learn every day, infusing knowledge from each world.

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