Forbidden words

There are many scary sounding terms in functional programming. These terms include: “currying”, “homomorphism”, “existential quantification”, “beta reduction”, “category theory”, “algebraic data type”, “Kleisli arrows”, “Curry–Howard correspondence”, “functor”, “applicative”, “monoid” and “monad”. Most functional programming tutorials try to explain what these terms mean as precisely as possible using even more scary looking mathematical notations.

But what about object oriented programming? OOP also includes many scary sounding terms such as “inheritance polymorphism”, “covariance”, “visitor pattern”, “SOLID”. If we explain what these terms mean as precisely as possible, we encounter the exact same situation as FP. Novice programmers would think that OOP is something very scary.

I recently read the articles of F# for fun and profit. Scott Wlaschin explains functional programming concepts without using any of these scary sounding terms. He even has the list of forbidden words. He especially tries hard to avoid the use of words beginning with letter “m”.

I think this is a good approach. Many programmers are interested in functional programming these days. C# programmers want to learn F# and Java programmers want to learn Scala. But they definitely do not want to learn lambda calculus or category theory from the beginning just to learn a new programming language.


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