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Date: -- (:)
From: oliver@f...
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OCaml popularity
On Thu, Mar 13, 2003 at 03:50:11PM -0500, William Lovas wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 13, 2003 at 10:52:32AM +0100, Oliver Bandel wrote:
> > I/O is on page 76, where imperative programming
> > is explained.
> > 
> > When looking into K&R's C book, it's in the first chapter
> > on the first page to create a feedback from the machine
> > with the well-known "hello world"-example...
> 
> Well, since C lacks a top-level read-eval-print loop, being able to
> do I/O is crucially important early on.  Less so with O'Caml -- one
> can get right into the interesting bits of the programming language
> without having to know a wink of I/O.  The necessary evils like I/O
> can wait 'til a little bit later... like Chapter 3 :)

Well, for unpatient people, this is a very long time!
(Even if you have not time to work every day with
that language and that book!)


> 
> Plus, the top-level loop approach introduces a number of important
> concepts early on, like expressions, values, and types.
> 
> > When you have a functional language and say: Yes, functional
> > programming is so genious, but get the I/O not before
> > the chapter about imperative programming, then it looks
> > not very honestly...
> > 
> > But adding the FP-features as a "what other languages have not"
> > (or not so clear) later, this might (not proven it;-)) be
> > a beter approach in making the language interesting.
> 
> You're basic objection here is that O'Caml is not being taught in the
> same way that other programming languages have been taught in the past.
> Should it be?  Maybe O'Caml is different enough from other programming
> languages that it should be *taught* differently.

Yes, I have thought about that too.
Maybe programmers are - when looking at OCaml's
imperative features - not very impressed (namespace
of variables (records,..)).

Well, but on the other side, people are often very unpatient.
If the question is, to spread OCaml more, then people want
to have results fast.

E.G. scripting... some I/O-stuff right from the beginning,
and you can do some things, where you have used Perl before...

So, waiting with this until Chapter 3 may cause people
to stop learning the new language...


> 
> I suppose it's arguable, though, that O'Caml might be more popular if
> its teaching style catered more to peoples' expectations.

Yes. Shure.

But if people have to wait too long - who has the time
today to invest so much time, if not a researcher or
unemployed (or workoholic, who comes home with rectangular
eyes and again take seat in front of the computer?)

Ciao,
   Oliver

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