Toxic Elephant

Tab Sweep: Monads

Posted by matijs 29/01/2010 at 12h47

Learning about monads is hard, and there seems to be no magic pill. Probably one reason is that they have several different uses. Many articles focus on one of those uses, making it hard to get the whole picture. On the other hand, articles that try to directly explain what monads are leave the reader wandering what they're good for. Some links.

  • Brent Yorgey argues that any shortcut by focusing on a particular metaphor (e.g., monads are like burritos) will not work.
  • Mark Dominus argues why monads are indeed like burritos.
  • [Monads as Containers][cont] fits in nicely by abstracting away from burritos (or space suits) to containers. It goes on to talk about how this relates to IO and other uses for monads. I'm still working on reading through this article.
  • sigfpe starts from the other end, showing how certain needs could automatically lead to monads. I haven't finished that one either, but so far it's been very insightful.
  • I also found The Continuation Monad in Clojure very insightful. Again, it focuses more in the use and implementation, rather than abstract theory. I'm not yet sure whether the insights I myself got from it are actually correct. More on that later, perhaps.

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Toxic Elephant is Matijs van Zuijlen's weblog.

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