Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Haskell Adoption and User Satisfaction Growing

Haskell Adoption and User Satisfaction Growing

This item in japanese

The 2018 Haskell User Survey shows very high satisfaction with Haskell's security, quality, reliability, maintainability, and advanced capabilities, writes FP Complete's CEO Aaron Contorer. InfoQ has taken the chance to speak with him about Haskell's current and future landscape.

The survey comes three years after the 2015 Haskell User Survey, which provides the baseline to assess any improvements. A few additional highlights from the survey are:

  • The Haskell community has started to look more diverse and project-focused than Haskell's historic "scientists only" reputation.
  • Haskell is being used not only in mixed-language projects, but also to build end-to-end solutions fully written in Haskell.
  • The Haskell community is considered very supportive.
  • Haskell is seeing increased adoption in commercial settings, especially FinTech, and on a minor scale in network security and e-commerce.
  • Tooling has improved greatly in the last three years, with tools like Stack and Cabal being used by 80% of applied users approximately.

InfoQ has taken the chance to speak with FP Complete CEO Aaron Contorer about Haskell's current and future landscape.

InfoQ: In the last three years, Haskell has gone a long way to become a better option for both academic and commercial projects. If you had to highlight just one area where Haskell has improved and that has played or could play a key role in fostering its further adoption, what would that be?

Aaron Contorer: We know from the Haskell User Survey that the key was stronger tooling. Three years ago, people already loved the language and the reusable open-source library packages, but the survey showed it was a lot of work to get their machine set up and to keep track of all the reusable packages they were using in their projects. In response, an open-source project called stack was created to solve those problems. Today, the survey says 80% of applied Haskell users are using stack to great success and others are pleased with similar improvements in cabal, a preexisting tool. This tooling went from the #1 "needs improvement" area to a routine and successful part of using Haskell at work.

InfoQ: How does FP Complete contribute to Haskell's growth as a development platform?

Contorer: It's our mission to drive the widespread growth and adoption of better IT Engineering tools and methods — so we focus on real applied commercial settings. This has meant Haskell tools & training, DevOps, and auditing & quality assurance. When possible we contribute to existing open-source projects that meet commercial user needs like the compiler GHC, and where necessary we create new ones, such as our leadership roles on stack, intero, yesod, and some other important Haskell packages.

With our extensive exposure to commercial Haskell engineering projects, we are constantly developing useful dev practices, which we try to promote to the community at and in our open-source work, our webinars and conference lectures, and our corporate training classes. And we've been exceptionally active in bringing much more powerful DevOps (for areas like dev platforms, continuous integration, and reliable cloud deployment) and much more stringent quality auditing (for crucial projects like medical devices and cryptocurrencies).

We try to focus on powerful applied engineering to deliver scalable, commercial projects, which is intended as a complement to the decades of fundamental language innovation work already built into Haskell. Any language community needs both parts: people who focus on designing the best possible core language and compiler, and people who focus on putting it to work with practical tools, deployment, quality assurance, and so on.

Where possible we turn our work into reusable IP that can be open-sourced or widely provided to clients. Where helpful, we provide customization and custom engineering, since many Haskell teams are heavily booked and would rather we help accelerate their work.

InfoQ: What will Haskell's major areas of improvements in the next future be, in your opinion?

Contorer: Lately we are seeing Haskell used in far more industries, including logistics, robotics, Blockchain, and network security. But we continue to see growth in its areas of historic strength such as medical devices and financial technology. Because of its strength at parsing, scalability, domain-specific programming, and extreme reliability, Haskell has become really good at data operations and data analytics. We predict extensive growth in analyzing complex, multi-source datasets on the cloud, providing core financial and health-care data services that will be used by numerous clients written both in Haskell and in numerous other languages.

Users have told us plainly that the technology is already very powerful and mature, and that the biggest needs in Haskell right now are for more beginner and intermediate training materials. Once users are up to speed they seriously love Haskell. But they say they don't have time to show all their colleagues why they love it; they believe it's the community's role to do this. We will continue to blog and write extensively about useful techniques and best practices, and to contribute to practical tools that help people get going and accelerate their practical work. And we are big fans of the very many great volunteer educators in the vibrant online Haskell community.

FP Complete aims to increase commercial adoption of Haskell through tools, training, and consulting.

Rate this Article