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Date: -- (:)
From: Siegfried Gonzi <siegfried.gonzi@s...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Am I mad?: OCaml for scientific scripting
How many of you guys are using OCaml for scripting? I mean I am faced 
now with the following problem: I have a Fortran program which relies 
more or less on input files and produces output files. This is good news 
because there is no need to write foreign function interfaces; all what 
is needed is to use a system command in order to start the program.

This sounds easy, but my brain is screaming whether I should really use 
OCaml for the task: scripting. It is by no means  a killer application 
but I am playing with the thought to make it available to a specialized 
community, eventually. So, it is science and I can use my tools what I 
think are best for the job, but believe it or not I am unsure:

a) Bigloo
b) Python
c) OCaml
[d) Clean but someone should immediately shot me for this stupid idea: 
Clean is dead, dead, dead, dead, dead and you will not get any help]

I wouldn't hesitate to use Python. I wouldn't hesitate to use Bigloo 
(Scheme), but I am really not that sure whether it would be fair to use 
Ocaml for that task. Why? May I really expect from a colleague that he 
settles on OCaml? Okay, nobody will ever ask  whether they are ready to 
settle on C++ and you may not forget: C++ is a huge language.  All the 
newer projects in science are more or less exclusively done in C++ (see 
for example ROOT in Cern). But is it legal to say he should also become 
interested in OCaml if he wants to use my software?

I estimate the learning curve for Ocaml as big as C++.

I am now a bit irritated about myself, because I have always thought the 
C++, Java,...imperative, and devil knows  bigots are ignorant and we 
know the stories from the managers who do not recognise the good 
software practise: functional programming (which in reality cannot show 
its cutting edge, because there is no such a thing).

I am not into mainstream and do not have problems to use my tools. For 
example I use Linux and do not even have access at my working place at 
the university to Windows.  But why is it that hard for me to use Ocaml? 
Look I had the chance to.
Others complain all day long that they are forced to use C++ and would 
feel like in heaven if they could use OCaml/Haskell/....

S. Gonzi

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