Gavin Whelan

LambdaConf 2017 Interview

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Gavin Whelan LambdaConf 2017 Interview

Gavin Whelan will be giving a talk at LambdaConf 2017. He will be speaking about Building Blogging Systems with Haskell and Yesod.

Follow him on his Homepage and GitHub.

PurelyFunctional.tv: How did you get into Functional Programming?

Gavin Whelan: In my undergrad CS program at Indiana University Bloomington I was really introduced to programming with functional programming. The intro to computer science class was taught in Scheme, and then I had the wonderful introduction to programming languages class from Daniel P. Friedman. I was hooked, and continued learning more functional programming in my degree and after.

Since then I've done a lot more Haskell, as well as getting experience in various other functional languages, most recently Elm and Purescript. I've always seemed to come back to Haskell however, often using it for my own projects.

PF.tv: What is your talk about?

GW: This talk is a guided workshop to teach people the basics of Yesod. Yesod is a high performance web framework leveraging the advantages of Haskell. Attendees will be building a blogging system, along the way learning Yesod's templating languages, database access, user authentication, and DSLs for routing and database tables. At the end of the workshop attendees will be able to create their own dynamic websites handling persistent data. We'll also take a look at Yesod's support for handling JSON data and creating API endpoints.

PF.tv: Who is your talk for?

GW: My talk is for beginner to intermediate Haskell programmers who may have found themselves unsatisfied with traditional web server design approaches. Additionally the workshop gives people learning functional programming a framework for applying their knowledge to building practical or production ready applications for personal or business uses.

PF.tv: What do you hope people will take away from the talk?

GW: I may have over time learned more about Haskell from Yesod than almost anything else, slowly picking up various concepts and practical patterns from trying to build applications with Yesod. I hope to pass along what I've learned so that people won't have to slowly pick it up on their own, getting a good understanding of what they're doing from the start so they can apply it to building their own applications. I also hope that I'll pass along more general Haskell concepts so that even if people decide not to, or can't use Yesod they can apply those concepts to other uses.

PF.tv: What concepts do you recommend people be familiar with to maximize their experience with the talk?

GW: An understanding of type classes and some of the more commonly used ones in Haskell, and a general familiarity with using monads will be very helpful. Attendees shouldn't need extensive HTML/CSS/JS knowledge, but some passing familiarity with at least HTML will help things go smoothly.

PF.tv: What resources are available for people who want to study up before the talk?

GW: The Yesod book is very good, but the goal is that attendees won't have had to look at it ahead of time. For getting more familiar with Haskell, if you're new to functional programming Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! is good, Real World Haskell is a good reference for some Haskell patterns, and I've heard good things about Haskell Programming: From First Principles.

PF.tv: Where can people follow you online?

GW: I'm not really on social media, but I recently started a blog, currently it's mostly hardware hacking which is one of my hobbies, but more functional programming should make its way on there. One could also follow my GitHub @gavwhela.

PF.tv: Are there any projects you'd like people to be aware of? How can people help out?

GW: I've recently been looking at some Purescript and would love to see more people get involved and contributing. I'm really not much of a fan of writing JavaScript, so I have a particular interest in getting good functional programming on the browser. Of course it's also great to see people contributing to Yesod and the server side, but functional programming in the frontend seems to be a lot less mature at this point in time.

PF.tv: Where do you see the state of functional programming in 10 years?

GW: We're already seeing a lot more startups and large companies alike starting to use more functional programming for all sorts of novel applications. I think as time goes on we'll see a lot of functional programming coming in to the large through startups growing and taking over market space. I think larger companies will transition more slowly, but will realize the benefits to security, stability, and productivity that can be garnered from functional programming and begin transitioning portions of their code bases to functional languages. Due to the guarantees for critical systems, I believe we'll see a lot more interest in strongly typed languages and theorem proving over the coming 10 years.

PF.tv: If functional programming were a superhero, what superpower would it have?

GW: Choosing whether to use six or six thousand megabytes of RAM using merely a '!'.

This interview is not sponsored by nor affiliated with the conference or its organizers. It is in no way official. It is simply curated and organized public information about the conference.

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