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[Caml-list] Caml Light syntax errors
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Date: 2001-12-17 (20:42)
From: Emmanuel Mabaleka <mabaleka@b...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Caml Light syntax errors

I have similar problems of syntax errors with the compilation of Caml programs 
in Chapter 11 of the "Functional programming using Caml Light", 1995 from 
http://caml.inria.fr/distrib-caml-light-eng.htm using the Ocaml 3.02 compiler. 
I am interested in writing real standalone applications but like sergei, I run 
into errors which are not documented. The other day, I spent several hours 
pondering why the count.ml program on p.79 didn't work. It was only after 
emailing the Caml-list on Wed, 12 Dec 2001 23:44:22 that I was advised to 
replace "std_in" with "stdin". That difference is not listed in the email you 
sent to Sergei below and in any FAQ. I am currently trying to get the 
continuation of that count program to work i.e. after it has been split into 
several files but for the counter.mli program, I am getting a syntax error on 
line "value new: int-> counter"; for the counter.ml program, there's a syntax 
error on line "type counter = {mutable val:int};;".

Is there a comprehensive list of syntax changes between Caml and OCaml? What 
would be really helpful for Ocaml would be a simple example application 
showing the main concepts without using the interactive mode.

I think a newbie list would be an excellent good idea as suggested by  "Collin 
Monahan" <cmonahan@fame.com> on Thu, 13 Sep 2001 12:29:04.

To: serge777@my-Deja.com 
Subject: Re: [newbie] Caml Light vs Objective Caml 
From: Pierre Weis <Pierre.Weis@inria.fr> 
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 21:50:36 +0200 (MET DST) 
Cc: caml-list@inria.fr 
In-Reply-To: <NPAAOJOMFKFHKCAA@my-deja.com> from serge777 at "Aug 18, 100 
08:35:37 am"


> Some Caml Light code from this book (and form others) does not work
> for Ocaml, for example, Ocaml report a syntax
> error for a definition from page 25
>  let neg = fun  true  -> false | false -> true ;;

Yes, you should write function instead of fun here.

> 1) Could anyone point out other known basic discrepancy between Caml
> Light and Ocaml that were not mentioned in the FAQ?

There are a few of them, namely:

- predefined identifiers that has changed (module vect is now module Array)
- module access conventions (module__ident is now Module.ident), hence
String.sub, instead of sub_string, and String.blit instead of blit_string
- case conventions have been enforced in Objective Caml.

> 2) I know there is a French book "Diveloppement d'applications avec
> Objective Caml". Is it suits for studying functional programming and
> OCaml for peoples without any background in the functional programming?

It is a good book with many interesting examples, worth reading. There
are a lot of other french books for beginners, have a look at


> 3) Why did the meaning of "fun" change?

The raw ``meaning'' is still the same: fun introduces a function
definition; however the syntax of the construction, and the kind of
function definitions the fun keyword introduces has changed.  Hence,
this is one of the more difficult changes you have to make when you
want to translate to O'Caml some code that heavily uses this
construct. I summarize here the differences:

What is perfectly equivalent:

Introducing a curried function with multiple arguments, as in

fun x y z -> expression

What has slightly changed:

Introducing a pattern matching function with 1 argument; you must
change the keyword fun to the keyword function. Hence

fun true  -> false | false -> true becomes

function true  -> false | false -> true

What has completely changed:

In Objective Caml, the notion of ``curried pattern matching'' (as
defined in older versions of Caml) has been removed, because this
feature has been considered as having a too questionable (and complex
to understand) semantics.

The ``curried pattern matching'' is the ability to performs multiple
pattern matching in parallel, here multiple pattern matching when
defining a function. Instead of the O'Caml code

 fun x y ->
  match x, y with
  | 1, 1 -> bli
  | _, 0 -> bla
  | _, _ -> blu

you could write the Caml Light specific fragment

 | 1 1 -> bli
 | _ 0 -> bla
 | _ _ -> blu

So you need to perform the converse transformation, which is
fortunately easy if not completely mechanical.

> Thank you in advance.
> Sergei.

You're welcome.

Pierre Weis

INRIA, Projet Cristal, Pierre.Weis@inria.fr, http://cristal.inria.fr/~weis/

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