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[Caml-list] Hitchhiker's Guide to Typing
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Date: 2001-06-11 (11:12)
From: Joseph R. Kiniry <kiniry@a...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to Typing
I have my students/friends read Cardelli's "Typeful Programming", mentioned 
below, before teaching/introducing any language with typing.  It is the 
most readable summary of the topic that I know.

My HHGTTG entry for OCaml (or other languages with similarly strong type 
systems) would be "bad things don't unexpectedly happen when your run the 
program".  That seems to be good enough to interest the friends that I 
continue to convert.

Joseph R. Kiniry          
California Institute of Technology        ID 78860581      ICQ 4344804

--On Friday, June 08, 2001 04:32:11 PM -0700 wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 08, 2001 at 01:22:05PM -0700, Hao-yang Wang wrote:
>> I think by "type theory" you mean the type systems used in modern
>> programming languages. Luca Cardelli has written some nice
>> tutorial/survey on this topic.
>> See <>. Look for the
>> articles "Typeful programming" and "Type systems".
> Excellent resources (particularly the "Typeful" doc).  My thanks to you.
> :)
> Seems to beg the questions tho': Is it not possible to learn and use OCaml
> without wading through 60 page docs on typing?  Will I have to read more
> of these papers to learn the object system?  Modules?
> I'm willing to read up on typing, since it seems pretty important to
> getting a good handle on FPLs/OCaml, and that's definitely what I'm after,
> but I wonder (in advance) if 60 pages can't be turned into far fewer.  I'd
> like some feedback on the notion that "if you can't explain it to a
> five-year-old, you don't really understand it" (or, rather, haven't given
> the simplest, most concise, most practically useful explanation).  By way
> of a couple examples, the HHGTTG entry for Earth is "mostly harmless".
> Investing can be distilled down to "buy low, sell high".  Not crashing a
> motorcycle is a matter of "look where you want to go, don't look at the
> ground".  No discussion of gyroscopic effects and psychology.  Of course,
> a working knowledge of typing will never be so simple, but contrast, for
> example, the "Type Systems" doc above; Table 34 is a good place to look.
> This is not what 99.99% of people looking to understand typing in OCaml
> are going to want.  If I didn't have a burning desire to learn OCaml/ML,
> and someone gave me just this document (and thanks for including the other
> one!) as a way of explaining the typing lingo, I'd give up and go back to
> what I was doing before, assuming that OCaml was every bit as obscure,
> difficult, and unrewarding as Unlambda:
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