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Re: [Caml-list] how to use a module
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Date: 2003-07-01 (18:29)
From: Matt Gushee <mgushee@h...>
Subject: Ledit (was Re: [Caml-list] how to use a module)
On Tue, Jul 01, 2003 at 12:32:46PM +0200, Remi Vanicat wrote:
> Matt Gushee <> writes:
> > (Note to OCaml team: can we *please* get some kind of
> > history-editing functionality in the toplevel? I know there are
> ledit is there for this. You can found it in the ocaml bazaar :

Okay, then, I have some questions about ledit:

  How do you use it? I have actually tried ledit 2 or 3 times, but if
    I invoke the 'ledit' executable that is created, e.g.

      $ ./ledit

    I get ... something ... some sort of shell-like environment, I
    guess. But all it does is echo whatever I type. And when I read your
    post, I downloaded it again to be sure, but the same thing happened
    again. I also tried making a custom toplevel with ledit, but the
    result seems to be identical to the plain ledit executable.

  Is there any objection in principle to including ledit with the main
    OCaml distribution? It needn't be in the default configuration, but
    if someone could get the OCaml source, then do

      ./configure -with-ledit
      make all
      make opt
      make install

    and have a ledit-enabled toplevel, wouldn't that be a good thing? If
    not, why not?

I think that if a language is going to have an interactive programming
environment, it should be pleasant to work with. And unless you are a
perfect typist, the lack of history editing makes the OCaml toplevel
very unpleasant to work with.

Now for me, and probably for most people on this list, that's just an
annoyance. But what would it mean for beginning programmers who might
encounter OCaml without having the background to understand why it's so
cool? Suppose a programming instructor decides to teach Python and OCaml
... some students might decide they like Python and not OCaml because
Python is easy to work with interactively and OCaml isn't. Admittedly,
that's kind of a silly reason, but the fact that someone starts doing
something for a silly reason doesn't mean that they will always be silly
about it.

So my point is, a toplevel with history editing could help OCaml's
popularity. And unless you take the elitist view that "OCaml is for
those with the intelligence and/or background to handle it," that is a
desirable result, isn't it?

Matt Gushee                 When a nation follows the Way,
Englewood, Colorado, USA    Horses bear manure through           its fields;   When a nation ignores the Way,
                            Horses bear soldiers through
                                its streets.
                            --Lao Tzu (Peter Merel, trans.)

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