Functional Programming eXchange 2012 / SilkApp: A Case Study in Creating Rich Internet Apps in Haskell

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Description

At Silk (http://silkapp.com), we develop a web application that allows users to create, query and visualize data in a more structured way. A user creates documents, which can contain links and tags, which add meaning to the data. They can then use a powerful, easy to use interface to navigate and query this data, and visualize it in graphs and on maps. In this, Erik Hesselink will describe the uses of and experiences with functional programming at Silk. 

Our backend uses Haskell to provide an API. It provides functionality from simple account creation to querying a custom graph database. Haskell's types and abstraction power have enabled us to build complex functionality with very few errors. However, laziness and performance are be tricky to understand and get under control. 

Our frontend is written in Javascipt. With first-class functions, functional programming techniques can readily be used here. For example, we use reactive values to statically model the dependency between application state and the user interface. However, runtimes are not optimized for this, and performance in the browser can be limited.

Outline

At Silk (http://silkapp.com), we develop a web application that allows users to create, query and visualize data in a more structured way. A user creates documents, which can contain links and tags, which add meaning to the data. They can then use a powerful, easy to use interface to navigate and query this data, and visualize it in graphs and on maps. In this, Erik Hesselink will describe the uses of and experiences with functional programming at Silk. 

Our backend uses Haskell to provide an API. It provides functionality from simple account creation to querying a custom graph database. Haskell's types and abstraction power have enabled us to build complex functionality with very few errors. However, laziness and performance are be tricky to understand and get under control. 

Our frontend is written in Javascipt. With first-class functions, functional programming techniques can readily be used here. For example, we use reactive values to statically model the dependency between application state and the user interface. However, runtimes are not optimized for this, and performance in the browser can be limited.

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Erik Hesselink (hesselink)

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