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Re: [Caml-list] OCaml popularity
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Date: 2003-03-13 (16:34)
From: Daniel M. Albro <albro@h...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OCaml popularity

	I thought I might comment a bit on this thread as a recent
learner of OCaml, which I've finally managed to learn at least well
enough to write a nice (in my opinion) MCFG (multiple
context free grammar) chart parser in it.  I don't think the language is
inherently any more difficult to learn than any other (well, maybe
difficult to learn ALL of), but for non-French speakers the lack of
introductory material is a problem.  I tried off and on (mostly
off) to learn the language for a year or two before getting it, and
the thing that allowed me to easily learn the language was the
recent translation of the O'Reilly book into English.  If they
ever publish the thing in English (I guess there's no agreement to
do so), I think the language will begin to take off outside of
France, because of what I think is the language's natural nitch -- it's
a rapid prototyping language (by which I just mean that it's a very high
level language and takes care of garbage collecting, etc.) that produces
fast code.  Lots of recent converts have been brought in
for that very reason, mostly by Doug Bagley's language comparison

	Of course there are areas where the language or its development
environment might be improved, and hopefully this would help with
the popularity problem -- the debugger is rather nonintuitive and could
use random extra features; I've found it a bit difficult to work with. 
I also hope that the stream parsing [< >] syntax stuff will get put back
into the main language and made parseable by ocamldep, that the
imperative side of the language will get fleshed out a bit with some
expanded loop features like break statements, and that someone will do a
wxWindows port.  But these are minor points.  The main thing is to
keep pushing at the compiled code speed, availability of nice
libraries, and good development environment that the language already
has.  Oh, and to advertise them!

Daniel M. Albro <albro@humnet.ucla.edu>

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