Why Functional Programming Really Matters

P. Bailes, C.J.M. Kremp, I.D. Peake, and S.Seefried (Australia)


Programming Tools and Languages; Functional Pro gramming; Language Extensibility; Software Design and Development


The significance of functional programming is revealed as that the feasible approach to language extensibility which it enables is further applicable to programming in general and beyond. The essence of functional programming is its enablement of programmer-defined function-valued func tions. The feasibility of language extension by normal programmers depends upon the exclusion of interpretation in favour of direct definition, and higher-order functional programming is the key to enabling definitional rather than interpretational extensions. Functional programming thus offers the opportunity for the exclusion of the inter pretation that otherwise pervades programming in gen eral, and may be applicable beyond to analog computing and systems in general. Nevertheless, specific technical challenges need to be met before "totally functional pro gramming" can realise its promises.

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