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Up Front

Functional Programming and Gonzo Engineering

by Michael Swaine

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You can and must understand functional programming NOW.

I’m riffing off Ted Nelson’s challenge from Computer Lib / Dream Machines. A premise of this issue of PragPub is that functional programming’s time has come. And we want to help you get up to speed with this powerful paradigm.

If you already know a fair amount about functional programming but don’t think it has practical value for you, you need to read Paul Calleghan’s article on Web frameworks for Haskell programming. Paul’s been doing a series for us on Haskell, and this month he makes a case for rethinking how you go about Web development.

If you aren’t that familiar with functional programming, our lead feature by “Uncle Bob” Martin will show you why this is a paradigm you can’t afford not to master.

And if Paul and Uncle Bob are sharing knowledge that could be crucial to your career, Steven K. Roberts has some ideas to share that could dynamite your career.

Steven Roberts was the original “technomad,” covering 17,000 miles around the US on a computerized recumbent bicycle from 1983-1991 while publishing tales via CompuServe and GEnie. And he’s kept right on pursuing gonzo engineering dreams. For 30 years Steve has occupied a world where fun is the bottom line and a living can be made on the opportunistic spinoffs of creativity, not by selling one’s life for a salary. In a series starting in this issue, he’ll share everything he’s learned in a lifetime of gonzo engineering, from scrounging parts to finding sponsors. If it’s possible to teach how to pull off the impossible with an insanely audacious project, Steven’s the guy to do it.

As you may have figured out already, this issue of PragPub is packed with good stuff. Hang on, there’s more.

Venkat Subramaniam shares some Groovy code that also serves as an exceptionally clear exposition of dynamic programming, closures, and memoization. Keir Thomas takes you deep inside the Mac OS to reveal some hidden secrets and tricks for discovering your own. Our resident curmudgeon, John Shade, tackles the Instagram snafu. Plus we’ve got a Quiz, our Events Calendar, and some odds and ends in a collection we call Choice Bits.