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Date: 2009-03-27 (22:14)
From: xah lee <xahlee@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] questions
2009/3/24 John Prince <john.prince@colorado.edu>

> I'm new to ocaml and coming (most recently) from ruby,

> Can someone point me to the best resource(s) for newbies?  I have been
> reading through what's out there, but its always nice to get a
> recommendation.

I also started learning OCaml this year.  Here's my personal experience and
recommendations on tutorial that are freely available:

Begin with 20 min reading at Wikipedia to get some context of the lang as
perceived by programers in general:
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocaml

The following are quality material, that you can get hands on experience as
a intro, each worth about 8 hours of study:

• Ocaml for Scientists, by Jon Harrop, chapter 1 free:

• “Introduction to Caml” by Scott Smith of Johns Hopkins U. A lecture note.

The above 2 are similar. Once you did the above, you might want a full
length tutorial, treating major aspects of the lang in some detail. Here's 2
i found available:

• Developing Applications With Objective Caml, By Emmanuel Chailloux -
Pascal Manoury - Bruno Pagano at:

• Introduction to Objective Caml, by Jason Hickey, 2008. (draft)

Currently, i'm still reading chapter 2 of the Emmanuel book.
Started to read Jason too. (i like concurrently reading multiple references)

I also started to write my own. Expect it to be in some usable form in a
year. It is written for practical programers, and those from so-called
“scripting” lang background (e.g. php, perl, python, javascript,
Mathematica, newlisp, tcl, ruby), and with the view point that prog langs
are primarily syntax (i.e. a computatable math notation.).

• OCaml Basics


the following are the most visible ocaml tutorials, but are low quality,
blog like, full of misleading characterizations, irrevelancies, misleading
comparisons. The type that you'd spend hours on and got more confused,
regardless whether you are a expert logician or expert industrial programer.
These tutorial's quality and nature are similar to the ones you'd find of
the freely bundled official tutorials from perl, java, or even haskell.
Typically written as a revised diary of learning experiences by student
programers, or by academicians who are llliterate in technical writing.

• intro to ocaml, from official site

• “Objective CAML Tutorial”, most cited tutorial on the web

There are 3 or so more ocaml tutorials i've looked on the web, from the
first page of google search with word “ocaml tutorial”. I don't think they
are not worth your time.


I'd be good if the ocaml managers perhaps thru some arrangement, to borrow
Jon Harrop's chapter 1, or other quality sources, in replacement of the
tutorial on the official site. Because, a quailty tutorial bundled with the
official release has great impact. The official tutorial makes the first
impression of the lang for most people.

∑ http://xahlee.org/