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Re: [Caml-list] Future of labels
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Date: 2001-04-09 (09:21)
From: Jacques Garrigue <garrigue@k...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Future of labels, and ideas for library labelling
From: John Max Skaller <>
> 	I beg to differ. The current status is the result
> of an incomplete merger of two communities, who have agreed
> to use a common tool (ocaml with two modes) to unify the
> ocaml development environment and provide a vehicle for
> experiments leading to further unification of the language.
> 	The next step is surely to further unify our efforts,
> by eliminating the duality in the languages that shared tool
> processes. It is OK, IMHO, to introduce a duality in 
> the libraries to do this. Now the theoreticians and implementors
> can focus their attention better.

I think your analysis is correct here.
Note that I indeed started this discussion because the classic mode
had a theoretical problem: maintaining two modes with their technical
subtleties can become cumbersome.

Also, there is some room left to make the label mode more
user-friendly, like allowing you to omit labels in some unambiguous

> 	The next step is to eliminate the duality in the libraries.
> This will probably require some cleanups in the core language,
> as well as some willingness for users to migrate.

Well, after listening to reactions, I think this next step first means
reducing the number of duplicated labelized libraries, by admitting
that we don't need labels in all libraries: Objective Label tried to
offer a unified view with labels everywhere, but this is not practical
with OCaml.  In particular, traditional OCaml users are not willing to

Then, further integration will only happen by natural adaptation:
the standard library will stay without labels, but outside of that
people choose the library whose design they like, be it with or
without labels.  This is no longer a problem of being in one or the
other community.

> 	It is likely there will be a further cleanup.
> So we have done step 1 of a four (4) step process.

I'm not sure I follow you here: step 2 is clean-up of the semantics,
step 3 is partial clean-up of the libraries (the remaining part being
really a problem of taste). I do not see what is left to clean-up
then: user libraries are designed by user themselves, we cannot edict
design directives for them.

Anyway, I agree with you: it may be time to do some clean up after the
merger, and this would improve the usability of the language.


Jacques Garrigue
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