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Re: Functional Paradigm popularity and Maths (Was: XML as a transition to s-expr)

Don Blaheta wrote:
> Functional; if they really have had no programming experience, they can
> get up-and-running much faster in functional style.  There's just not as
> many core concepts they need to understand to get started (variables,
> mutations, strings; they don't even need to understand functions at the
> very start, though that's more due to the REPL than anything else).  

You can use almost any programming language without variables,
mutations, strings and functoins!

> ... In
> addition, if Scheme is the functional language in question, they have
> negligible syntax to learn to get started.

You still have to learn quite a bit of syntax. You don't have to learn
about binary and unary operators or precedence levels, but then you've
often learned that in high school. You still have to learn the structure
of an if-statement or a cond-statement or ... And I would argue (have
argued!) that all of the parens actually get in the way more than help.
A few well-chosen keywords (e.g. if/them/elif/else) can shed a lot more
light on what is going on than stoic parens.

> Hard to give an objective answer, as you say, but I suspect that the
> actual cognitive cost of learning the new paradigm is small in *either*
> direction; we think of the functional->procedural jump as "easy" because
> it's _just_ a paradigm shift, whereas the procedural->functional shift
> is "hard" because in addition to the paradigm shift, there are often
> programming concepts like recursion that need to be (re(ally))learned.

Doesn't a truly functional programmer have to learn about assignments,
mutation, binding scopes etc. in order to switch to procedural?

 Paul Prescod