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[Caml-list] Future of labels
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Date: 2001-03-29 (17:52)
From: Mattias Waldau <mattias.waldau@a...>
Subject: RE: [Caml-list] Future of labels
In my previous job we used Visual Basic a lot. VB has
labels. Our coding standards required us to use labels
whenever two arguments had the same type, for example
2 string-arguments. This makes reading of the code
very easy, and reduces the risk of stupid bugs due to
wrong order of arguments.

As I see it, the main advantage of labels is readbility.

I also think the way that Ocaml does it is very good, VB
for example would require you to write 'f tree:=tree', 
whereas in Ocaml just writes 'f ~tree' to the function
'let f ~tree = ...'. Less to write which makes programs 
more compact and still readable.

As I see it

Advantages with 'classic mode':
- simpler, both for language implementor, emacs-mode 
  implementors, and for users (less to explain)
- more compatible with non-label code

Advantages with 'commuting mode'
- You don't have to remember the order
- You partially apply on any argument

I would say that the arguments for 'commuting mode' are
very weak. 

I can't value the possibility of being
able to partially apply on any argument. I would just
create a anonymous function that would change
the order of the arguments (which would be very

To not have to remember the order is only an
argument if you use a less capable IDE like Emacs.
All modern IDE's will automatically show the argument
list when you enter the function name, and thus you don't
have to remember the arguments, nor their order.

It would be very easy to make such a mode for Emacs for
Ocaml, especially since you only have to look in the
file itself before the current point, and in mli-files
that are 'Open'.

Maybe this mode already exists, I only use the standard
mode today, since I had problems with other modes on
Windows. If so, plz let me know.


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