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Why don't you use batteries?
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Date: 2009-09-04 (18:37)
From: Gaius Hammond <gaius@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Why don't you use batteries?

On 4 Sep 2009, at 15:38, Hezekiah M. Carty wrote:
>> If you provide the live CD as both a physical CD and a downloadable
>> ISO, they can even run it virtualized so they don't need to reboot.
> This may be a nice longer-term goal for Batteries and/or Community
> OCaml.  Providing a livecd or perhaps a ready-to-go virtual machine
> image would make it much simpler for folks with problems (4) and (6)
> to try out both OCaml and Batteries in a known-functional environment.

I don't think this is a realistic use case. I am interested in using  
OCaml for real work; the way I "try" any language (or tool, or  
library, etc) is to install it on my work machine and use it to tackle  
a small but real problem. If I like what I see I take it further, then  
eventually I will want to deploy it. A sandbox is nothing more than a  
toy for freshmen (and freshmen who need spoonfeeding, at that).

I am after a language that has the rapid-development of Python or Tcl  
but with type safety; OCaml is right now the best bet, but it is  
*very* rough around the edges. The way you install ActivePython is you  
download it and run the installer and a few minutes later you're ready  
to go with everything you need. I'm just reading the release notes for  
Batteries now and it starts, you will need <a big long list of  
things>. Maybe I'm just spoilt by other language distributions, but I  
think I am representative of the "OCaml-curious" programmer, and  
that's not what "batteries included" implies to us.

I don't mean to single Batteries out here, it's definitely a step in  
the right direction, and kudos to those that have put in the effort.  
It's a general problem in the OCaml world. Compare Python's actively  
developed cx_Oracle to OCaml's abandoned Oracaml. Or Python's  
excellent Matplotlib to OCaml's frankly crude  Plplot, I tried to draw  
a graph with a legend today, very simple you might think, wait, Plplot  
doesn't even do that! It would be a very hard sell to my colleagues  
right now, regardless of the brilliance of type inference, pattern  
matching, etc...