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[Caml-list] 32 bit floats, SSE instructions
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Date: 2004-06-09 (01:25)
From: Brandon J. Van Every <vanevery@i...>
Subject: RE: [Caml-list] 32 bit floats, SSE instructions
Jon Harrop wrote:
> Brandon Van Every wrote:
> >
> > OCaml has a somewhat practical focus, but maybe it's not
> > sufficiently
> > practical for me.  I do find myself re-evaluating languages
> > in terms of 3 overriding problems:
> >
> > - the available C++ migration path and its efficiency
> Why C++? Is your objective to always prototype in OCaml and
> convert to C++?

No, my objective is to use OCaml on top of extant C++ libraries, such as
the Nebula2 3D engine.  "Borgging" some of the engine over time may be
possible, but against that, is the implementation reality that the rest
of the Nebula2 developers are implementing in C++.

> > - the support of basic 3D graphics types, i.e. 32 bit floats
> Why not "ease of use of trees, graphs etc."? Algorithmic
> optimisations are so much more productive...

Am I allowed to just scream at you every time someone utters this
drivel?  Compare how Xavier feels about the 'real world'.  I think all
the 'exterior constant' O() theory guys should be hung from the rafters.

> > - ability to work with imperative, object oriented designs
> > and libraries
> OO is overrated, IMHO.

It may very well be.  There is still the reality that when you plan to
use extant libraries, that have ongoing development, with programmers
attached to them, all of whom are working in an imperative OO paradigm,
that you have to communicate successfully with them.  If you're going to
convert them, your religion has to be compelling.  And you may not be
able to convert them, you may have to settle for interoperating with
them.  The alternative is to write everything for OCaml from scratch and
that's just not industrial reality.  One of OCaml's strengths as far as
gaining language converts, actually, is that it doesn't immediately
force C++ people to abandon an imperative, OO mode of thinking.

> Imperative is excusable for UI level things but I'd
> prefer a functional style for everything but the simplest of
> algorithms.
> OCaml can play with libraries fairly well but, yes, it takes
> a lot of time to
> get some things working. That isn't the fault of the OCaml
> creators though,
> of course, it's the fault of those dim-wits at Bell Labs...

The "Worse Is Better" school of technological development has won.  You
have to deal with that reality if you want to benefit from it.
Otherwise, have fun writing all your own code from scratch.

> > ...Write my own little Python script to emit a lot of redundant,
> > boring filename.i files with #include filename.h %include filename.h
> > directives in them.
> Yes, but the OCaml bit of SWIG is very alpha, AFAIK. SWIG
> wasn't even designed to deal with languages like OCaml.

I didn't say I had any faith in the industrial robustness of the
solution.  I haven't heard of anyone using OCaml SWIG besides its
author.  I'm also aware that SWIG was designed to bind scripting
languages, not for native-native code linkage.

> Just out of curiosity, do you use the STL much? An interface
> to the STL might be interesting.

I don't.  I've totally avoided it, and I despise the thought of having
to deal with it.  I went looking for higher level languages rather than
worry about STL.  Thanks for reminding me that there's a dimension of
the C++ migration problem I hadn't considered.  I don't make much use of
templates... but they're germane to the C++ idiom, they won't be

> I'm getting offered jobs because I am so much more
> productive as a consequence.

So where are you finding these OCaml jobs?  Clue us in.

> The programs I write whilst doing my 3D graphics
> research are
> more robust and faster than ever now that they have been
> converted entirely into OCaml from C++.

*Now* you're a 3D graphics researcher.  Oy vey!

Cheers,                         www.indiegamedesign.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

"We live in a world of very bright people building
crappy software with total shit for tools and process."
                                - Ed Mckenzie
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