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[Caml-list] Alternative Bytecodes for OCaml
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Date: 2004-08-25 (14:26)
From: John Goerzen <jgoerzen@c...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Alternative Bytecodes for OCaml

I come to OCaml from a Python background, and one of the most 
interesting bits of technology for Python is Jython[1].  Jython is a 
pure Java implementation of the Python interpreter and native-code 
libraries.  It allows Python programs to run unmodified in a Java 
environment.  More powerfully, though, Python programs can use Java 
classes as if they were native classes.  No glue code is required for 
this; it Just Works.  To a somewhat more limited extent, Python classes 
can also be made available to Java classes.  This makes Python an 
interesting choice to add more dynamic capabilities to Java code, and 
it expands the set of available libraries to Python programs to include 
anything available for Java.  I've used these capabilities for several 
purposes -- one of the more recent is the zxJDBC module, which exposes 
a Python DB-API interface to any database that has a JDBC 

One of my continuing complains about OCaml is the breadth of libraries 
available for it.  It is getting better thanks to the hard work of 
many, but IMHO, still lags behind Python, Perl, and Java.

So one of the things I've been thinking about lately is integrating 
OCaml with either Java or the .NET CLI in a manner similar to Jython.  
I've done some googling on the topic and it seems nobody is working on 
this yet.  I just wanted to check and see if that's true.

I see several possibilities with both of those paths:

 * An ocamlc/ocamlrun that execute under Java or .NET and compile/run 
normal OCaml bytecode

 * An ocamlopt-equivolent that would compile OCaml code directly to Java 
or .NET bytecode 

I have found a language called Nemerle[2] that seems to be very similar 
to OCaml, though with a different syntax.

[1] http://www.jython.org/
[2] http://nemerle.org/


-- John

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