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Questions concerning modules as first-class values
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Date: -- (:)
From: Dario Teixeira <darioteixeira@y...>
Subject: Questions concerning modules as first-class values
Hi,

3.12 will bring modules as first-class values to the Ocaml language.  
This is an interesting development whose full range of applications will
surprise us for many years, I suspect.  It also raises a few questions,
two of which I'll throw to the audience.

The first is purely one of terminology.  The table below describes how up 
until now core "elements" of the Ocaml language could be described; note the
use of ad-hoc terms such as "value-ish", "module-ish", and even "elements".
Moreover, since modules are now also first-class "values", the terminology 
is bound to get confusing.  So, what should the proper names for all these
"elements" be?

-------------------------------------------------
|               | 0-arity       | n-arity (n>0) |
-------------------------------------------------
| Valueish      | value         | function      |
|               |               |               |
| Moduleish     | module        | functor       |
-------------------------------------------------


Second, does the promotion of modules to first-class values also extend to
higher-order modules, ie, functors?  For the sake of symmetry I reckon it 
ought to.  As an illustration, consider again the same table, but extended to
a third dimension indicating with a boolean (T or F) whether each "element"
is a first-class "value" (the third dimension is represented after a slash). 
It seems right that the question mark in the functor cell should also be a "T".
But is it?

-------------------------------------------------
|               | 0-arity       | n-arity (n>0) |
-------------------------------------------------
| Valueish      | value/T       | function/T    |
|               |               |               |
| Moduleish     | module/T      | functor/?     |
-------------------------------------------------


Thanks for your time!
Best regards,
Dario Teixeira