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Re: Redefinition doesn't work
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Date: 2000-11-06 (22:09)
From: Francisco Reyes <fran@r...>
Subject: Re: Good programming languages (Was: Redefinition doesn't work)
On Fri, 3 Nov 2000 09:44:11 +0100, Mattias Waldau wrote:

>1. typed (to find typo-like bugs, or when changing the program)
>2. interactive environment (to be able to test hard part of the program
>without have to write elaborate function just for testing)
>3. easy to use and understand libraries.
>4. good syntax, which makes it easy to write the correct code
>5. fast
>6. portable, works on windows and linux
>7. good support or good open source team
>8. cheap
>3 for interactive environment (better than C, Java, SML, but much worse than
>Lisp, Prolog, Scheme, examples of problem: #relet, not very good
>emacs-modes, no object-browser),

2 for interactive.
In my case at least Ocaml still shows too much of it's research
background. It is taking me some time to get used to or even
understand the output of the interactive environment.

>2 for easy to use libraries (it is so hard to find the right function, I
>have to search thru the PDF-file all the time),

So far from the little I have seen it is not the libraries that
it is a problem. It is the docs and the examples. I asked once
if it was possible to contribute to the documentation and got no
answer. For instance there is no samples with the libraries so
for beginners it is difficult at the beginning to understand how
to use a library because there are no examples. To make things
worse I bought a book to try and learn Caml and the
examples/exercises are highly math driven. I find this too be a
horrible thing to have done. When I look at the exercises I 
spend more time trying to thing how the math is going to work
out than how I am going to program the thing. Example: the first
exercise is to prove that Ax^2 + bx + c = 0 is solvable given
three parameters a,b,c. For someone who is contantly doing math
this is probably trivial, but I have not taken any math clases
on years and I don't see the point on linking the exercises so
much to math. This perhaps is linked to the previous(current?)
set of intended users. If Ocaml is to ever become a general
purpose language then the docs/examples need to be less
theorical and more practical.

>2 for good syntax (it is very easy to spend a lot of time trying to get the
>program to compile, for example I called a attribute in a record 'value',
>and that works sometimes I have noticed :-),

I agree with the 2. I don't know if it is my lack of having
worked with other functional languages, but I find the Ocaml
syntax strange.

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