Hello there, I'm Axel!

Hi everyone !

I’m Axel, I have been lurking here a couple of weeks, so I figured I’d introduce myself and start participating.

I am quite fascinated by both FLO and Functional Programming, although I only dabble in these two things. At the moment, I am a Django programmer at a small company taking part in the energetic transition in France. On my spare time, I’m really into japanese swordfighting and trying to teach myself to play the ukulele.
You showed up while I was looking online for tech cooperatives, and obviously I got interested !
I really like how thoughtful the community is in term of funding models, governance, and product. The wiki and forums are full of interesting reads. Also I love that you have what seems to me like an uncompromising FLO philosophy and how you tackle the problems that arise from it.

In this time of global confinement, I have WAY too much time on my hand, and while I am not sure more coding aside of home office is the best thing for my sanity, I wish to contribute to your code if I can.
I am a Haskell newbie, but being able to help out here would be a great incentive to progress.

So see you around I hope !

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Welcome! Happy to have you join us, and happy to help you each step of the way in getting involved etc. Any and all feedback is welcome. It’s helpful to us to know what goes well or not as you explore and poke at things.

Your impression of us sounds spot on to me.

On music

By the way, I teach music lessons for a living, and I’ve bartered where I’ve taught lessons to students who then help with Snowdrift.coop. My personal site is https://blog.wolftune.com/ and it has articles about music stuff. And especially as thanks for helping with Snowdrift.coop, maybe I can find time to help you a little with ukulele if you like, via video chat. I did a session with @Salt this week as he’s learning ocarina.

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Thanks for the kind words, and for the help I’m already getting on Gitlab.

As for music, it would be awesome if we could arrange something later :slight_smile:

Hi Axel!

Since you’ve been lurking, you probably noticed it’s been somewhat quiet around here. That hasn’t always been the case, it’s just that thoughtfulness has mostly run its course — we’ve discussed most everything[1] to death and have designs for most things that we’ll need for launch; it’s really just time to build them.

So, I’m super exciting that you’re interested in contributing code. Recently @Adroit also expressed interest in helping with development; it might be helpful to collaborate with him (@Erudition1 on GitLab). I think I want to encourage you to work on whatever is most interesting to you, since that’s probably the easiest/most fun way to get familiar with the code base. But I’ll also mention, this is probably the highest-impact-per-effort issue right now (less haskell, more html/css, though):

I’m also a programmer, although I’ve never gotten in to Haskell[2]. I’m currently focusing on wrapping up my other project so I have fewer things vying for my attention (I am still working on Snowdrift.coop, just not much on the technical side). Still, maybe this is a good jumping-off point to get my feet wet again. Feel free to ping me if you want to try and tackle something together!

I use hcoop.net for my hosting (just in case you’re looking for another wiki you can get lost in).


  1. Big exception: governance still needs a bit of ironing out. Also, don't let that stop you from bringing posting about other topics. Worst case, we point you to a duplicate discussion; best case, it's a point we haven't considered yet! ↩︎

  2. …although I also enjoy functional programming, especially SML, which I used for a few classes in my undergrad. Thing is, I'm absolutely terrible at syntax for languages I'm not working in on a regular basis. Or even when I am; I've been doing js for a year now and maybe once per week I still need to pull up the mdn page on arrays to remember what exactly the method names are. ↩︎

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Ditto on much of what was said above.

Glad you found us, welcome!

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Hi there Axel! Kudos for actually doing the “Start a thread introducing yourself” thing, I always seem to be too shy for those.

Haskell

I’m not new to Snowdrift, but like you, I’ve come across a lot more free time during the pandemic (read: laid off) and I’ve always wanted to contribute. I now design websites (including for a living), but back when I was introduced to the Snowdrift team I was seriously pursuing Haskell.

Unfortunately, I never made it past “newbie”, so we’re on the same page. It’s such a cool language, and I was definitely excited about the possibilities of purely functional programming (in fact, I’ve never gone back to non-FP) - but it’s simply not great for beginners. The books, the naming choices, the error messages - it was all making everything less productive for a beginner, and seriously cramping the all-important “early wins”. Of course, I didn’t realize any of this at the time. My learning simply slowed to a halt one day.

Elm

Later I discovered a language that gets all of those things right, but with the same purely functional paradigm, and I absolutely took off. I started learning a language called Elm, and now I’ve taken on a coding project of my own that is bigger in scale and complexity than anything I’ve written in any other language - and it’s still my first real Elm project! It’s amazing how confident I feel when writing Elm - and other learners have agreed that it’s quite possibly the “nicest” language in the world right now. If you can’t tell, I’m quite a fan.

Like “Standard ML” (the SML @smichel17 was referring to), it drops the lazy-by-default and “bottom” features of Haskell (which are criticized for performance reasons), but is still immutable, pure, type-safe, etc. It takes those otherwise hard-to-appreciate features and gives us immediately appreciable practical benefits, like automatic semantic versioning and (my favorite) no runtime errors (literally, an Elm program is un-crashable!) - due to type safety. It has uber-simplified syntax compared to Haskell, and code formatting, debugging, package management, and other tooling that you’d normally need to figure out, is all built in.

Point is, while Elm is currently only designed for front-end web apps (too much JS for snowdrift), I invite anyone and everyone interested in functional programming to start with Elm if they want to truly enjoy their FP learning experience. Not just @axel.baudot but any future forum visitors as well. Armed with successful FP thinking, my confidence in Elm has renewed my interest in figuring out Haskell - at least as much as I need to in order to contribute to this Yesod codebase. :slight_smile:

Yesod

Speaking of which, while lately it’s been complained about (in-team) as too foreign and difficult to approach, I’m glad we are using a Haskell-powered backend. We’d have to pick one anyway, and while I understand the sentiment behind going with a more popular backend system that’s more boring familiar, I’m glad we’re going with one that allows us (if not forces us) into using type safety to ensure correctness.

In other words, if we do this right (I am soon going to peek into the codebase myself), we can develop snowdrift pretty much only once. Rather than fixing bugs and having users run into problems, it will actually “just work” right off the bat, as guaranteed by the compiler. I’ve gotten used to such guarantees thanks to Elm, and boy, is it intoxicating.

Anyway

Oops, I realize I’m hardly on topic anymore so let me not forget to say: Welcome Axel! - and yes, I’m working through the Yesod book right now, so feel free to join me so we can help move this thing along. :smile:

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Hi, nice meeting you all :slight_smile:

@smichel17 I have been using Red Moon for a while now, thank you for this very nice piece of software.
I have to up my game a bit before making a serious contribution (I only know SASS by name at the moment haha). Thanks for pointing out the issue, it seems interesting and I’ll let you know when I’ll have a shot at it!

@Salt Thanks !

@Adroit I see where you come from with Haskell because… I’m here now! I’m still figuring out a good learning track. Luckily, I have a pronounced taste for math and I am more distracted than deterred by all the abstract concepts in the language. But it is hard to build anything and keep momentum, so I’ll have a look at Elm if I feel my motivation with FP falter.
Let’s get in touch sometime and see if we can figure out Haskell and Yesod together :wink:

I’ll join the IRC/Matrix channel, seems like it might come in handy soon.
See you all there !

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