I’m a developer with an MSc in Computer Science, from a University with a heavy focus on theory.
My understanding is that anyone who wants to build on the Cardano platform must use Haskell. Is that correct?
That depends what you’re actually asking. If you’re asking what language to use when submitting pull requests to the open-source blockchain, then the answer is Haskell. If what you’re asking is what language to use when writing code for the Cardano Computational Layer (CCL), then there will be multiple options available as best I can tell, including but not limited to: Solidity (which Ethereum uses) and Plutus (Cardano’s own suggested language).
I think relatively few devs use Haskell?
If so, wouldn’t this drive up the price of development for anyone wanting to develop on the platform (smaller pool of talent)? And also make development a slower and more difficult process?
It’s hard to measure programming language popularity / use in general. PYPL lists Java, Python and PHP as the three most popular searched-for languages, but really it depends on domain. You will find lots of C and C++ in games programming, operating systems and embedded devices (lots of Java in devices too), and so on.
In general, Haskell is definitely less widely used than say Java, C or Python. But this actually doesn’t have the consequences you think it does. What it also means is that the people who DO know the language generally have a deeper understanding of it, and many of them have known it for a long time - leading to a smaller pool of much better developers. Especially in the functional community, where there’s a measurably better understanding of maths and core computer science fundamentals (algorithms and data structures).
Seems to me this combination of factors will hinder real-world uptake?