Daily Archives: 2009-04-25

BuilderBuilder: The Agenda

The “BuilderBuilder” posts will be my exploration of one question: “What does Functional Programming mean to me as a practicing OO software developer?” Despite contemporary buzz about how FP will save the world from bugs and single-threaded code, I don’t want to read (or write) another clever Fibonacci number generator, or another theoretical explanation of category theory and monads. I want to see what FP is like when it sits down the aisle from me in work clothes.

To pursue that goal, I’m going to explore a programming problem that meets these criteria:

  1. Its purpose would be recognizable to a working programmer.
  2. It is large enough that a clever one-liner won’t suffice.
  3. It isn’t (consciously) chosen to cater to either OO or FP.
  4. It will require me to try things outside my daily comfort zone.

That last point means that I’ll make mistakes and do stupid things. I hope the record, warts and all, helps someone else (including me, later on) avoid them.

The problem I’ve chosen is a specific code generation task, which I’ll describe in the next post. There is a wide range of opinions on source code generation, but source code is one thing that any programmer understands, regardless of other application domain specialization.

Because my goal is exploration, and I’m starting with unequal familiarity with the languages I’ll use, the code almost certainly won’t be idiomatic or make best use of all available libraries. In fact, I’ll probably do more than necessary “by hand” to avoid bias toward more familiar tools. I may be able to address some of that along the way, based on accumulated experience (or helpful feedback, hint, hint… ;-).

OK, enough meta-talk. Next up, the task.

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