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I want to read Purely Functional Data Structures. I've easily found the thesis (which is freely available as a PDF), but see that there's a book available also. So I'd like to know what the differences are, if any, between these two publications.

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closed as off-topic by amon, MichaelT, Ixrec, durron597, GlenH7 Aug 16 at 18:01

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I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about software development concepts, as explained in the help center. –  amon Aug 15 at 21:04
@amon this question was initially done in StackOverflow. After getting few answers there, it was migrated here. Now you're telling me here it is also an off-topic. 1. So would you recommend migrate it once again? 2. What benefit do you get from constantly moving, or putting on hold this question? I really see no benefit from putting it on hold. –  Kostiantyn Rybnikov Aug 20 at 11:54
@KonstantineRybnikov - Site standards evolve with time. One of the decisions made by the community is that questions of this type aren't a good fit for the Q&A format we're cultivating. The core reasoning behind this question being closed is that version comparisons just don't fit very well. Case in point, the top voted and accepted answer is little more than a link and two paragraphs pointing out differences. Yes, it answers the question at a high level, but it really leaves a lot to be desired. –  GlenH7 Aug 20 at 18:28
To directly answer your points raised in your comment. 1) No, we (the community) wouldn't recommend migrating it again as it doesn't really fit in the StackExchange Q&A format. 2) The benefit the community gains is clearer guidelines regarding what is on-topic or not. In addition, closing off older questions that no longer fit prevent future visitors from using this as justification for asking new, off-topic questions. –  GlenH7 Aug 20 at 18:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Here's a blog post by the author, where he says

I thought that the basic organization of my dissertation was pretty solid, so mostly I was able to focus on adding and adjusting things to make it work better as a book. For example, I no longer had the constraint from my dissertation of having to focus on original work, so I was free to add data structures that had been developed by other people.


The main additions were expanded introductory material (such as my simplification of red-black trees, which was developed a few weeks after my thesis defense in a series of emails with Richard Bird), exercises, and an appendix including all the source code in Haskell (the main text used source code in Standard ML).

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As an owner of the book (though I haven't gotten through much of it) I can point out that it adds a rather large appendix with Haskell translations of his ML code.

Aside from that, it looks like he's essentially taken his thesis, reworked it and officially published it, much like you'd see out of a new edition of any programming reference out there. You can probably get a lot out of the thesis for free, but there will be some fixes, rewordings and extra references available in the book.

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