Why Functional Programming Matters

5/28/2006 10:19:58 AM

Why Functional Programming Matters

I just came across a paper about why functional programming matters. This paper is full of a ton of software paradoxes.

Functional programmers argue that there are great material benefits - that a functional programmer is an order of magnitude more productive than his conventional counterpart, because functional programs are an order of magnitude shorter. Yet why should this be? The only faintly plausible reason one can suggest on the basis of these “advantages” is that conventional programs consist of 90% assignment statements, and in functional programs these can be omitted! This is plainly ridiculous. If omitting assignment statements brought such enormous benefits then FORTRAN programmers would have been doing it for twenty years. It is a logical impossibility to make a language more powerful by omitting features, no matter how bad they may be.

By the way, I had written an earlier post on software paradoxes… I had intended and do intend to make it into a series of posts. A blogger seems to have beaten me with a few of his own, the software-reuse-paradox (reuse code by throwing it away) and the software-confidence-paradox.

My whole software endeavors are based on software paradoxes, that I have observed and which have lead some people to think of me as insane for pursuing the impossible.

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Net Undocumented is a blog about the internals of .NET including Xamarin implementations. Other topics include managed and web languages (C#, C++, Javascript), computer science theory, software engineering and software entrepreneurship.

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