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[Caml-list] OCaml popularity
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Date: -- (:)
From: MikhailFedotov <mikhail@k...>
Subject: RE: [Caml-list] OCaml popularity
Hi!

> 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.

Key word is motivation. First visible results should be instant
and appealing in order to keep motivation. Simple programs
like "Hello world" are very important to keep motivation high.
All those samples ready to cut&paste.

As for the good practice, it's about simple tasks among the
more complex ones. The good example is "Concrete
Mathematics" by D.Knuth with its exercises, from trivial
to almost impossible - there is no single boring line.

If you forget about motivation to start (simple exersises), then it
doesn't really matter how sophiscated the language is by itself.

If you forget about motivation to progress (medum-difficulty
exersises, real tasks), then the reader will become bored.

If you forget about training how to use the language properly
for regular tasks (even just truncating the file after specified
position), then the reader will get the feeling of beautiful
academical language with no practical use. This is also
the case if all tasks were trivial and dedicated to learning
language constructs.

He will also become bored if someone will try to teach him
the theory behind the languge when all he wants is to learn
to use the language, preferrably by intuition (it is faster) using
examples.

As a summary:
1. Introduction.
2. Examples.
3. Reference manual with examples somewhere (not just grammar).

This is pretty enough... at least it works for me. :)

Mikhail


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