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Re: [Caml-list] poll - need for a good introductory OCaml book (LONG)
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Date: -- (:)
From: Sergey Goldgaber <sgoldgaber@y...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] poll - need for a good introductory OCaml book (LONG)
--- Noel Welsh <noelwelsh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> The PLT people has done a lot of work on teaching
> Scheme (think of it as dynamically typed O'Caml ;-) to
> beginner programmers.

How would you say it compares to the SICP?  I've had that highly
recommended to me, and bought an old (1986) copy.  It seems
alright to me, but shares a weaknes (in my eyes) with most OCaml
tutorials in that it's heavily math based.

That's something that I should have mentioned in my previous
email: that the last math class I took must have been fifteen
years ago.  So tutorials that deal mostly with math are definately
a turn off.

Someone here mentioned "Programming Perl".  The earlier, Perl 4
version, was what I'd consider a tutorial.  It wasn't at all math
heavy and was very practical.  "The Perl Cookbook" is another
amazing book that the OCaml community would do well to emulate.
It contains tons of cookie-cutter code and explanations to common
problems.  Sure, it encourages a kind of "paint by numbers"
approach to programming, but you really learn a lot by seeing and
analyzing the solutions.

Anyway, back to the SICP.  I'm slowly going through it, and I've
actually found 20hrs of videotaped classes by the authors
themselves for free download at:

http://www.swiss.ai.mit.edu/classes/6.001/abelson-sussman-lectures/

which is really great.  But the downside is that they use Lisp,
and that means that I have to learn yet another language.  I've
also heard that there are some good books on functional
programming that focus on Haskell.  But again, that's yet another
language.

Now, it's probably the case that once I know one functional
language others will be easy to pick up.  But why should I have to
learn two languages if I'm really only going to be focussing on
one of them?  One of them will likely go to waste (along with the
tons of other languages I've already learned).

This is why it would be great if the perfect tutorial already
existed that focused on OCaml, because that's the language I've
chosen.  I know it's a lot to ask, and there is already a good
deal of good documentation and tutorials out there.  But not on
the really basic level.  So it still remains an issue.


  --Sergey


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