Version française
Home     About     Download     Resources     Contact us    

This site is updated infrequently. For up-to-date information, please visit the new OCaml website at

Browse thread
[Caml-list] Roadplan for world domination (or constructive criticism of ocaml facilities)
[ Home ] [ Index: by date | by threads ]
[ Search: ]

[ Message by date: previous | next ] [ Message in thread: previous | next ] [ Thread: previous | next ]
Date: 2003-07-18 (21:21)
From: Chris Clearwater <chris@s...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Roadplan for world domination (or constructive criticism of ocaml facilities)
    I have come across the Ocaml language several months ago and after much
investigation and trial coding I have come to several conclusions. Most
importantly I think Ocaml is a wonderful language to program in. It has all
the features I would expect from a modern language and on top of that it's
compiled native code appears to rival that of C in many areas. It truly is
the language of the future. Now that I have expressed how much I am growing
to love Ocaml I would like to share with you my initial experiences as a new
user. First I would like to single out some issues that I believe threaten
Ocaml from being taken seriously and then i would like to offer some
solutions that would improve the usability of ocaml greatly.

- Support on win32 could certainly be much better
- Compiling and distributing Ocaml source is a very delicate process
- There exists much fragmentation among usage of different GUI toolkits
  and they are limited to C/C++ conventions. (Is it possible to create your
  own custom GTK widgets within ocaml?)

And without further ado I present to you 10 steps to world domination:

1) Support for Ocaml on win32 (both as a development and target enviroment) is
very crucial for the adoption and practicality of Ocaml. For example, look at
the trouble some developers must go through to get their application running
under win32:
Forutnately this doesn't have to be the case. The mingw32 toolset allow
compilation and linking to be done very similarily to how it is done on Unix.
Also, it enables one to develop win32 apps without shelling out hundeds of
dollars to Microsoft:
I propose mingw32 be made the default compiler/linker for native win32 binaries
(or even drop MSVC support entirely).

2) Take the idea of ocamlmklib further to generalize the compilation of both
Ocaml programs and libraries into a module called "Ocamlmake". Also create a
binary of ocamlmake which makes use of the module for command line compiling
and include these in the standard distribution on all platforms.

3) Now that we have a easy cross-platform way to compile ocaml applications we
can just distibute our code with Makefiles that call ocamlmake! WRONG.
Makefiles suck. Now we standardize on the idea of an Ocaml "package". Each
package would include in it's toplevel directory a file called (This
is starting to resemble python's distutils indeed). would make use of
the Ocamlmake module by building a record and passing it to Ocamlmake.setup.
This record might be static or it might be created by self-configuration.
For example, the ocamlsdl package would call sdl-config to retrieve some
compilation flags. You _would_ rather configure in ocaml than "portable shell
script", right? Then to build the application you would execute "ocamlrun build" and "ocamlrun install" to install it. Also the record
would contain meta-information such as the author, copyright, etc.

4) Change the ocaml distribution to compile using Ocamlmake :) (except for
bootstrapping if you dont already have a previous version of ocaml installed)

5) Create a module called Framebuffer which parallels the primtives found in
OpenGL/DirectX. The Graphics module is close, but the design doesn't match
well with these two APIs (We want hardware acceleration). Implement for each
platform a Framebuffer module (DirectX or OpenGL where available, Xlib or
other native graphics system otherwise). Include this in the standard

6) Create a cross-platform Event module. Include this in the standard

7) Create a cross-platform Font module (wrap freetype or create an Ocaml
implementation). Include this in the standard distribution.

8) Create a GUI on top of the Framebuffer, Event, and Font modules,
implemented in Ocaml :) Include this in the standard distribution.

9) Now the big payoff, we write a standard Ocaml IDE, to be included with the
Ocaml distribution. It would be well integrated with the distribution. Ocamlmake
module for compiling, the ocaml lexer for syntax highlighting, exporting packages
( This would make it incredably easy to get started creating
cross-platform libraries and modules. Realating to point #1, now a win32 user
need only grab the mingw32 and Ocaml distributions and they are set. They can
even easily export their code to a ocaml package for distribution. Obviously the
benefit extends to all other platforms as well.

10) World domination.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

To unsubscribe, mail Archives:
Bug reports: FAQ:
Beginner's list: