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Date: -- (:)
From: gasche <gasche.dylc@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: Pre-compiled ocaml binary for windows
On Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM, Alain Frisch <alain@frisch.fr> wrote:

> The graphical toplevel does not depend on labltk, so the two issues are
> really unrelated.  For crashes with the OCamlWin.exe, I was thinking about
> http://caml.inria.fr/mantis/view.php?id=4399 and
> http://caml.inria.fr/mantis/view.php?id=3052, but this might be pure FUD.
> The real problem is that nobody seems interested enough in this graphical
> toplevel to put serious work on it.
>

I beg to differ. In my experience, the Graphics module is a wonderful tool
to get non-programming beginners interested in OCaml. I have been in the
position of teaching OCaml to beginners, and the single thing they remember
and found *fun* was displaying the mandelbrot fractal, and then playing with
different color functions to get fancy results.

I absolutely agree that Graphics is not the most important thing in OCaml,
and would be very happy to have a decent OCaml installer without it, but
still I think in a second time making it work would be well worth it.


 I will probably look for ledit (or lwt toplevel) which seems a better
>> alternative to emacs (too heavy too install).
>>
>
> If your hope is to make OCaml accessible to beginner hobbyists under
> Windows (I assume this is the primary audience for pre-compiled binaries),
> you might still want to provide easy ways to use code editors. Providing
> easy access only to the toplevel (be it graphical, or with a line-editor)
> might be a turnoff for beginners.


In most French "classes préparatoires", students learn programming by --
after a quick exposure to Maple, to be sure they don't risk learning too
much functional programming -- typing code directly in the toplevel.
Advanced software engineering there means "writing code in a notepad so that
the work isn't lost when the toplevel crashes". But it's not directly
relevant, as they still use Caml Light.

I agree that an Emacs integration would be useful, but maybe it could also
provide an ocaml-mode for one of the simpler, less powerful editors with
syntax highlighting and a shortcut to call the compiler. In GNU/Linux land,
those would be Gedit and Kate; I'm not sure what Windows people use now.
(There was also a discussion of Eclipse plugin, but I suspect this isn't
ready and would be a lot of work, so it's probably better to separate the
two efforts)