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Re: [Caml-list] ocaml complexity
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Date: 2001-06-13 (23:19)
From: Brian Rogoff <bpr@b...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] ocaml complexity
On Wed, 13 Jun 2001, David Gurr wrote:
> > From owner-caml-list@pauillac.inria.fr Wed Jun 13 13:36:15 2001
> > From: leary@nwlink.com
> > To: Brian Rogoff <bpr@best.com>, caml <caml-list@inria.fr>
> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2001 at 08:21:27AM -0700, Brian Rogoff wrote:
> > > Perhaps we users should start writing
> > > tutorials, rather than asking INRIAns, as I'd rather that they work on 
> > > growing the language.
> > 
> > Aye.  Would Michel Mauny be agreeable to having his "Functional
> > Programming Using Caml Light" be the starting point for a "Learning OCaml"
> > project, say on sourceforge?  Are there any better tutorials on ML 

It depends on the group that you're targeting for the tutorial, of course. 
I think writing from scratch is a fine idea. I think a tutorial should be 
aimed at getting (C++/Java/Perl) programmers up to speed quickly so it 
would probably be a bit boring for the type theory heavy crowd. 

> I assume you mean Caml rather than SML

Borrow from good SML tutorials like Robert Harper's too I say. 

> > that
> > might be borrowed from with permission?
> > 
> > 
> The intro in the HOL-Light manual is quite good.  Also quite good is:
> http://cristal.inria.fr/~remy/isia/

This is in French, which would be a problem for a lot of programmers that
I know. Interestingly, I seem to have picked up enough written French from
reading this list (with a dictionary and some phrasebooks of course) that 
I could read almost all of this. If Didier would like to make the TeX
available, I could take a stab at translating this. He has also written 


which I think is just wonderful, but I don't think its for the beginning
OCaml'er. It's for a more sophisticated programmer, and delves into type 
theory issues. 

John Max Skaller <skaller@ozemail.com.au> then writes
> Brian Rogoff wrote:
> > When OCaml becomes so popular that it one of these standards
> > organizations is involved, there will be significantly less ability to
> > make incompatible changes.
> 	I like your positive approach  
> 	"When Ocaml becomes so popular .." :-)

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of OCaml. 

> > Anyways, more growth is good. If OCaml reaches Python's popularity,
> > that would be great.

> 	But Python too is severely constrained by backwards 
> compatibility requirements. It is the main reason I gave up on it
> as a serious language: it is beyond fixing.

That's true, but there were certainly some pretty major cleanups in 
Python with respect to its scoping that I think make it a much better
language. Of course, it's not OCaml, but it's clearly popular enough that 
lots of people want it on their resumes. OCaml is not there yet. 

>	OTOH, Ocaml doesn't really _need_ fixing :-)

There are a few places where I think improvements can be made. From what
I've read, INRIA is working on all of them. 

> > Perhaps we users should start writing
> > tutorials, rather than asking INRIAns, as I'd rather that they work on
> > growing the language.
> 	I'd love to, but the language isn't popular enough for me
> to make enough money selling books on it: I'd make a respectable income
> from C++ books, but I have lost enthusiasm for promoting it.

I was thinking more of writing free, web available tutorials to increase
the user base. That needs to happen to bring more people on board. Only
then will there be a big market for OCaml books in Anglophone nations. 
In other words, 

	Ask not what the OCaml community can do for you, ask what you 
	can do for the OCaml community. 

> I blame Ocaml for that. Catch-22.

I feel your pain. It's tough to go back to C++ or Java, isn't it?

-- Brian

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