Is Haskell Scripting Language?


Angela Bailey

Is Haskell Scripting Language?

Haskell is a functional programming language that is often used in academic and research settings. It is known for its strong static typing, lazy evaluation, and elegant syntax. While Haskell is primarily used for writing large-scale applications, it can also be used as a scripting language.

What is a scripting language?

A scripting language is a programming language that is typically interpreted rather than compiled. It is often used to automate tasks or quickly write small programs. Scripting languages are designed to be easy to learn and use, allowing developers to quickly prototype and test ideas.

Characteristics of a scripting language

Scripting languages have several characteristics that make them suitable for certain tasks:

  • Simplicity: Scripting languages are designed to be easy to read and write, with minimal boilerplate code.
  • Rapid development: They allow developers to quickly iterate on their code and see results immediately.
  • Dynamic typing: Scripting languages often use dynamic typing, which allows variables to change type at runtime.
  • Interpretation: Scripts are typically executed by an interpreter rather than being compiled into machine code.

Haskell’s suitability as a scripting language

Haskell was not initially designed as a scripting language, but it can still be used in that context due to its expressive power and concise syntax. While Haskell may require more effort to learn initially compared to traditional scripting languages like Python or Ruby, it offers several advantages:

  • Type safety: Haskell’s strong static typing helps catch errors at compile-time, reducing the likelihood of runtime errors.
  • Functional programming paradigm: Haskell’s functional programming paradigm encourages immutability and pure functions, making it easier to reason about code and avoid side effects.
  • Powerful type system: Haskell’s advanced type system allows for powerful abstractions and concise code.

How to use Haskell as a scripting language?

To use Haskell as a scripting language, you would write your code in a script file with a .hs extension. Here is an example of a simple Haskell script that prints “Hello, World!”:

#!/usr/bin/env runhaskell

module Main where

main :: IO ()
main = putStrLn "Hello, World!"

In this example, the script starts with a shebang line that specifies the interpreter to use (in this case, runhaskell). The main function is the entry point of the script and it simply prints “Hello, World!” to the console using the putStrLn function.

Running a Haskell script

To run a Haskell script, you would need to have GHC (Glasgow Haskell Compiler) installed on your system. Once installed, you can execute the script by running the following command in your terminal:

runhaskell hello.hs

This will compile and execute the script using GHC’s interpreter. You should see “Hello, World!” printed to the console.


Haskell may not be traditionally considered a scripting language, but its expressive power and advanced features make it suitable for scripting tasks. While it may require more effort to learn initially compared to other scripting languages, Haskell’s strong static typing and functional programming paradigm offer unique advantages for those willing to invest the time to learn it.

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