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Re: [Caml-list] OCaml IDEs for beginners?
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Date: 2002-05-01 (22:57)
From: Jacques Garrigue <garrigue@k...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OCaml IDEs for beginners?
From: "Benjamin C. Pierce" <bcpierce@saul.cis.upenn.edu>

> > > Are there any programming environments out there for OCaml that are
> > > especially well suited to beginning programmers?
> > 
> > how about ocamlbrowser?
> I'd wondered about this too.  Does anybody have actual experience with
> using OCamlBrowser as an IDE for teaching?  (From playing around with it
> for a few minutes, my sense is that it is "not quite there yet" for this
> purpose, but perhaps it would not be that hard to get it there...)

The browsing capabilities are certainly useful for middle-beginners,
to get acquointed with the libraries.  I have often done it with
students here, and this works really well.

Use of the editor and the shell may be good for real beginners too,
but some improvements might help. You can already easily send a
function from the editor to the shell (Alt-X), but there is no
handling of shell errors. Yet, you can already typecheck stuff inside
the editor, so you can make sure you never send wrong code.
Type inspection should be a boon for beginners, but currently you get
no information when there is a type error, and this would be really
nice to have it.

More generally the behaviour of the editor and he shell have some
rough edges, which are hard to handle with Tk. This might be improved
by moving to GTK 2 (not GTK 1.2, the text widget is too weak).

As for working with subsets of the language, the answer, as always,
seems to be camlp4.  How easy is it to delete a rule from a grammar?


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