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Experiences with learning OCaml?
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Date: 2004-11-25 (20:56)
From: Michael Vanier <mvanier@c...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Experiences with learning OCaml?

I second this (not just because I teach a course based on Structure and
Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP) ;-)).  Also, you should know
that the book is available for free on its web site:
http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp.  I learned most of what I know of functional
programming from reading this book.  Another good book is How to Design
Programs, which also uses scheme, and which also is available for free on
its web site: http://www.htdp.org.  This latter book is extremely
accessible even to non-programmers, although it's somewhat tedious at
first for more experienced programmers.

Ocaml is a fantastic second functional language after you've gotten the
hang of the functional style, and you can learn it straight from the
manuals.  And when you want to go further you should learn Haskell and be
prepared for serious brain-expansion.  

The only problem is that once you've learned languages like scheme, ocaml
and haskell (and I'll throw in common lisp for good measure), you'll find
languages like C, C++, java etc. to be deadly dull and annoying (sort of
like a racing car driver being forced to drive a tricycle).


> From: guttman@mitre.org (Joshua D. Guttman)
> Date: 25 Nov 2004 15:39:50 -0500
> whenning@ucsd.edu writes:
> >   
> >   Although I've of course Googled around for potential books to
> >   select, are there any ones particularly suited for someone in my
> >   position?
> >   
> In my opinion, a splendid book that's full of insights into
> computation and languages and how to solve problems is Abelson and
> Sussman, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT
> Press).  
> It uses Scheme, which has the infamous parentheses, but really those
> aren't as bad as you think.  In fact, they're a syntactically minimal
> way of writing programs, which doesn't get in your way when thinking
> about problems.  An outstanding Scheme implementation is PLT Scheme
> from Felleisen and his colleagues, now at Northeastern.  
> Having taken a tour through Abelson and Sussman, you're sure to feel
> at home in OCaml or other functional languages, and probably look at
> programming in any language with a clearer pair of eyes.  
>         Joshua 
> -- 
> 	Joshua D. Guttman		<guttman@mitre.org>
> 	MITRE, Mail Stop S119		Office:	+1 781 271 2654
> 	202 Burlington Rd.		Fax:	+1 781 271 8953
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