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Date: 2009-03-31 (14:47)
From: Martin Jambon <martin.jambon@e...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] questions
Kuba Ober wrote:
> There must be some reason why the manual and other materials on the
> official site are of such poor quality. I've thought a bit about it, and
> the only reason I see is that the authors do not have a feel for what it
> takes to learn/understand/use that language. They obviously know it all
> through, but that's still far removed from being able to explain it to
> someone else. I don't know, of course, how it is that one understands
> something "well" yet is not able to explain it to somebody else. To me,
> that's very fragile knowledge. I always thought that deep understanding
> implies an ability to extract what's important, and to lead the other
> person from some "basics" (whatever they may be) to the conclusion.

I can see one reason: like many other French OCaml programmers, I learned
OCaml at school (it was in 1998). French teachers don't rely heavily on a
book. There is however one book that covers the essentials, "Le Langage Caml"
by Weis and Leroy, which despite using the Caml Light dialect is the most
enlightening programming book I've ever got to read. For the rest, there is
the reference manual of OCaml and plenty of source code all around the web.

I think that's why there is not much more incentive to write a complete
"replace-the-teacher" text book on OCaml written by the core OCaml developers,
who are mostly a French team. Besides, it's a lot of work and doesn't make money.

Of course there are now a few great books and tutorials on OCaml in English,
none of them having an official status.