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Re: [Caml-list] OCaml IDEs for beginners?
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Date: 2002-05-02 (11:16)
From: Benjamin C. Pierce <bcpierce@s...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OCaml IDEs for beginners?
Thanks, Jacques,

> The browsing capabilities are certainly useful for middle-beginners,
> to get acquointed with the libraries.  I have often done it with
> students here, and this works really well.
> Use of the editor and the shell may be good for real beginners too,
> but some improvements might help. You can already easily send a
> function from the editor to the shell (Alt-X), but there is no
> handling of shell errors. Yet, you can already typecheck stuff inside
> the editor, so you can make sure you never send wrong code.
> Type inspection should be a boon for beginners, but currently you get
> no information when there is a type error, and this would be really
> nice to have it.
> More generally the behaviour of the editor and he shell have some
> rough edges, which are hard to handle with Tk. This might be improved
> by moving to GTK 2 (not GTK 1.2, the text widget is too weak).

>From playing with it for a few minutes myself, my impression was that a
good OCaml hacker could probably turn it into a decent (maybe not great)
beginner IDE with a couple of weeks of effort -- mainly just reorganizing
windows and menus and leaving the functionality pretty much the same.
But it sounds like this is not really worth putting much effort into
before lablgtk2.0 is ready.

> As for working with subsets of the language, the answer, as always,
> seems to be camlp4.  How easy is it to delete a rule from a grammar?

I had wondered about this, actually.  I know that the full OCaml grammar
is a somewhat complex beast -- e.g., there are lots of reduce/reduce
conflicts.  So (without having tried it, either via camlp4 or by hacking
the full compiler) I'm not confident that it would be very easy to
predict the consequences of deleting rules.


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