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(Mostly) Functional Design?
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Date: 2005-07-18 (07:59)
From: Robert Morelli <morelli@c...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] (Mostly) Functional Design?
I've been lurking on this list for several years.  This seems as good a
time as any to delurk and jump on a soap box.

I think you've put your finger on one of the main reasons functional
languages have failed to attract significant use beyond a few niche

I contend:
   1.  The FP community tends to emphasize low level issues rather than 
the larger scale issues that concern most programmers.  It is also
inept at practical documentation and advocacy.
   2.  There isn't much of a theory of large scale functional design.
At least,  there is no consensus.
   3.  Point 2. is not the consequence of point 1.;  it's not simply a
matter of communication,  but an instrinsic void in the FP paradigm.
The FP paradigm is intrinsically poorly adapted to the kind of large
scale design concepts that concern most programmers.  Object oriented
programming is a much better match,  not because of a conspiracy of
commercial giants in the software tool business,  but because of
intrinsic technical reasons.  Functional programming is a niche
technology ideally suited to simple domains like language tools and
formal methods.  It does not have much to say about complicated

Kyle Consalus wrote:
> There are a wealth of resources related to object oriented design techniques
> (which can certainly be applied to OCaml), but I've been pretty much unable
> to find any good resources on large scale design of functional programs.
> I realize that this is the sort of thing that develops over time with
> experience.
> Just the same, there is (most likely) a lot to learn and consider, and a 
> resource would be helpful. My recent uses of OCaml for fairly small projects
> have been effective, but a lot of things were cumbersome in the design
> and I suspect that I may be thinking about it wrong.
> So, could anyone suggest a good resource or perhaps weigh
> in on their thoughts on the topic?
> Thanks,
> Kyle