What Have I been up to lately? Erlang, Scala, Clojure, Ruby, IO, Haskell, and Prolog Oh MY!

What Have I been up to lately? 

Other than being busy with work, I have been reading and working through the exercises in “Seven Languages In Seven Weeks” by Bruce Tate. It is a book that goes through the following seven languages: Scala, Ruby, Prolog, IO, Conjure, Erlang, and Haskell. The amount of time needed to read through each of the languages isn’t seven weeks, but more like 3 days per language. Each chapter has 3 days worth of lessons and one day to “review.” If the reader wanted to go further in detail with one of the languages, there were suggestions and exercises to help the reader do so.

Criticisms

The biggest criticism about this book is that the book either skipped over or under-explained interesting features. For example, most of the languages consisted of Day One: Basic Syntax, Day Two: Lists/data manipulation, and then went to Day Three: Concurrency. There are a lot of concepts or tidbits of the language that could have been covered. If concurrency was one of the interesting bits of the language, make it a small section and prompt the reader to seek other resources.

I also wish that this book went over language-neutral concepts [introduced by the languages] before teaching the languages. It did try to wrap up the book by explaining the concepts, but I felt like it was too late by this time. Lastly, the book was great to introduce a person into the languages. However it left me with the feeling that it was something nice to know, but not something I could use in any of the projects I’m currently working on.

What I liked about the Book

I really like that the book went through so many different languages. Additionally, the book attempted to shy away from the traditional OO based languages, and stayed with the functional based languages. I was taught Prolog in undergrad, but I liked the introduction of a prolog. Prolog is an incredibly useful, and unique language, however it lacks the resources that the other languages have.

After the book I would like to follow up with the Erlang, Prolog [which was a refresher for me], and Haskell.  Clojure was interesting, however I didn’t get a strong urge to continue with it. I also thought that Groovy would be a little more useful than Scala.

  • http://antipaucity.com Warren

    I think that *any* type of book like this is going to have *lots* of missed/skipped/glossed-over content … but it sounds like a really good way of getting a rapid introduction to a variety of thought processes and programming paradigms

    • crash025

      I agree, however my concern was that it was going from a “very light” intro into heres how to multiply that effort. Kinda like going from a tricycle to a mountain bike.