Why Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC) Is So Great
Haskell is a functional programming language with powerful functionality. This is a compiled language, and many claim that Glasgow Haskell Compiler is one of its biggest benefits.
In this post, we are going to briefly explore the features of Haskell and its compiler. For more information about GHC and functional programming, visit the blog of Serokell developers.
Haskell and functional programming
Functional programming is a programming paradigm. It proclaims that the calculation process is treated as calculating the values of functions in their mathematical understanding (as opposed to functions as subprograms in procedural programming).
Haskell encompasses the greatest benefits of functional programming. It has many features that make it shine where other languages fail. It is great for large-scale projects, cloud computing, blockchain development, and basically, any other type of projects with large codebases where efficiency is the key. Here are some distinctive features of Haskell that make it so great:
- a static type system that guarantees safety;
- GHC compiler where all expressions are checked for type matching;
- lazy evaluation that speeds up the computations and allow to process infinite lists;
- pure functionality: functions in Haskell are more strictly defined than in other programming languages;
- parallel computing where threads that execute algorithms simultaneously within the same process are automatically created at the compiler level.
These benefits make Haskell harder to learn because underneath the possibilities of the language and techniques that help to overcome some limitations lay algebra and calculus. One needs to have high qualifications and experience in order to work efficiently with this language.
Glasgow Haskell Compiler
Now let us have a closer look at something that adds so much to Haskell’s functionality – GHC.
As you have already guessed, to program in Haskell, you need a compiler. The most developed compiler to work in Haskell is GHC. Microsoft, Well-Typed, Serokell, and many other companies work hard on its improvement. It is best to install it from the Haskell Platform or Glasgow Haskell Compiler official website.
Haskell Platform contains a stable version of the compiler and many good, time-tested libraries. Using cabal, you can install all the necessary libraries.
Features of GHC
- In addition to the compiler itself, there is also an interpreting interactive environment (GHCi).
- Support Haskell-2010 language standard and provides a wide list of extensions.
- Automatic parallelization of program execution in systems with multi-core processors. Since the absence of side effects in pure functions is guaranteed, in any function, parallel calculation of two different parameters is always permissible.
- Runs on different OS (including Windows and Unix variants.
- Great opportunities for optimizing programs, including inter-module optimization.
- Various profiling options are supported.
If you are interested to learn more about Haskell for your project development or start writing in this language, there are many amazing resources available. This language has one of the most active programming communities; the only fast that its compiler is open-source and is mostly developed by independent developers from around the globe says a lot. Don’t be shy to explore fresh opportunities of FP, and you will be rewarded.