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Haskell vs OCaml
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Date: 2008-08-14 (12:47)
From: David Mitchell <monch1962@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Haskell vs OCaml
Thanks - nice summary

Dave M.

On 14/08/2008, blue storm <> wrote:
> So it seems the debate went on anyway. I had written something, but when
> just before posting i saw Brian Hurt's post, and decided not to. It now
> seems i was wrong, and actually (when reading the others) my post seems
> quite balanced after all.
> I'm not saying that the other posters are biased in any way. But i have the
> point of view of someone trying to learn a language "for fun" and in order
> to discover interesting features or novel point of views. It seems Haskell
> do much better in that context that in the "use it to do something useful in
> the cruel world" context used so far.
> So here is my original post :
> I'm afraid your question is a bit too general (and it seems strange to ask
> that on the mailing-list of one of the projects, while asking for a balanced
> answer).
> The main differences are :
> OCaml is impure (imperative features in the language), Haskell is pure.
>  OCaml is strict, Haskell is lazy.
> Ocaml has modules, Haskell has type classes.
> If you're coming from the imperative land, OCaml is, in my opinion, easier
> to learn.
> It is also a good choice to begin with OCaml because everything you learn
> with the OCaml basics can be reused for learning Haskell (the converse is
> also true, but then you have to learn lazy evaluation first, wich is a
> non-trivial shift, and is vastly less used in OCaml).
>  Haskell is certainly worth the effort, but my personal opinion is that
> learning OCaml first is a good idea. Moreover, for "real world" application,
> you may prefer OCaml over Haskell.
> The syntax are different, but not so much (before learning haskell, i could
> generally understand the purpose of tiny haskell sources). I have heard some
> people say they prefer the Haskell syntax, but this is more a matter of
> taste (and not very relevant if you want to learn something from the
> language semantics). Both have their ugly sides.
> Idiomatic OCaml implementations tend to produce more efficient than
> Idiomatic Haskell implementations (but Haskell compilers are getting better
> and better everyday (for Haskell performances to be good, compilers have to
> do lots of clever and not so simple optimizations), and Haskell is faster
> than most (scripting) languages used these days anyway).
> The Haskell standard library is bigger than the Ocaml one, but this is
> probably not an advantage for beginners (because this means more time spent
> in browsing the doc, while playing with the language and reimplementing
> functions yourself is much more interesting). Haskell program thus tends to
> be more terse and "higher-level" (because of reusing a lot of higher-order
> combinators in the stdlib): OCaml is also very expressive, but the
> simplicity of the stdlib tends to keep people on simpler things.
> To the advanced programmer, both languages have interesting advanced
> features to offer. Haskell tends to specialize in sophisticated type system
> features, whereas OCaml has an interesting object system, and polymorphic
> variants. Both languages have very interesting derivatives, specific
> languages intended to explore a specific area (concurrency, metaprogramming,
> etc...).
> Camlp4 is a flexible and powerful Ocaml preprocessor. Haskell has some tools
> in that direction, that i have never used (so i'm mostly guessing here), but
> they seem to be even less supported and used inside the community.
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