I was heartbroken to find out recently that Ertugrul Söylemez has passed away suddenly. Many have come forward to express their sadness about this passing and how much this has impacted the Haskell community, and how much of a loss it is for functional programming at large.
They aren’t wrong; Ertugrul was one of the faces of the friendly, warm, encouraging, patient Haskell teaching that Haskell has grown to be known for. Ertugrul was also one of the original pioneers in the implementation and theory of Functional Reactive Programming and continued to innovate even through this year. His name is now and forever will be synonymous with the “pull-based” variant of functional reactive programming. And the freenode #haskell channel and the Haskell community at large will have one less friendly face who always enjoys helping new people learn.
However, I wanted to just put some words down about his personal influence in my Haskell, Academic, and FOSS career.
When I was a new Haskeller, a lot of things confused me. But the passion of people like Ertugrul to help me understand concepts that I found interesting late into the night was one of the things that really made it worth it.
One of these lead to the creation of my first ever Haskell library, auto. auto is basically literally a direct translation of one of our conversations (and somewhat of a derivative of his own library netwire), and throughout the entire implementation process he was open to the many questions I had. And some of the features of the library (including implicit serialization) were directly his innovations put into practice.
In a slightly different context — as a new PhD student, I was told to follow wherever my curiosity lead me. One of those lines lead me to “comonadic” image processing, which was directly inspired by this unfinished article of his.