Year in Results

This year was a blast. We've started Munich Lambda, a user group for people interested in Functional Programming languages. Functional programming is getting more and more attention every month, and there's a lot of people who want to use FP at their working places.

When we first started, we knew about a dozen people in our area who were interested in FP, and had no idea there're so many people around who share our interests and mindset.

Meetups

First meetup gathered over 50 people, and was hosted by GuteFrage. It was a very nice and promising start, since then we were quite sure there's enough interest, and we should definitely continue.

Over the year, we had 4 meetups and 2 Clojure Workshops. Over a hundred people visited the meetups, and 35 came to the workshops. We had talks on Haskell, Clojure (and Lisp), OCaml, Scala and Erlang. We've iterated and been improving content and structure of our meetings, and have made many interesting conclusions and plans for the next year.

Functional Institute

First of all, I'm glad to announce a Functional Institute, an initiative we're starting within Munich Lambda that pursues the next goals:

  • help people to steadily learn FP languages
  • build up a team that will be helping people to promote FP at their work
  • create a community of innovators

That may sound a bit pretentious, but we also have a plan for it. Functional Institute will occur more frequently than usual meetups. Namely, twice a month. At the moment, we have three languages we have some interest (and experts) for, which are Clojure, Erlang and Haskell.

Building a knowledge

Every Functional Institute meetup will have it's own goal, for example: "build a simple REST backend that talks to an SQL database and serves JSON results", or "write a stream processing backend, aggregating events based on certain rules".

Participants will be prepared for the meetup, have their text editors and development environments ready to jump straight into the code. Inbetween meetups related to the same language or topic, people will be able to get themselves to the state they're fluent in the subject.

The largest difficulty we've seen so far is that it's hard to find where to apply FP. On the other hand, it's hard to learn without having a good, interesting and challenging task. This is a chicken-egg problem.

Functional Institute will help people to accumulate enough knowledge and experience to start applying FP in production, over the year. By the end of year, everyone who attended it, will be able to write large applications without any external help.

Convincing employers

For the people already having some experience, we have a team that's able to investigate use-cases and find good arguments on how FP will improve a situation at their working places. FP is known for helping people to write software in a very iterative, interactive way, reduce the error rate, having smaller, testable pieces and using a Functional toolchain for working with collections.

All the good parts of Functional Programming sound "too good to be true" from time to time, and many people advocate imperative languages due to an existing adoption, but history shows us that not every big and popular thing is actually good. We'd like avoid speaking cliches and taking a more practical and research-driven approach. This way we can say not only "why FP is good", but "how exactly FP is going to help your company".

Join us!

We're looking forward to the next year. Join our Meetup Page and let's see how we make it all happen! There are already some events scheduled for first three months of 2013, and there will be even more coming next.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Functional Year! See you soon!

Bonus: Slides & Code

Published on Dec 20 2013

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