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[Caml-list] Frustrated Beginner
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Date: 2003-12-23 (04:00)
From: Tyler Eaves <tyler@m...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Frustrated Beginner
First a bit of background:

I'm a 19 yr old computer science student, been programming for perhaps
10 years. Started (Like so many did in the early '90s with QBasic in
DOS. These days most of my work is done in either PHP (web stuff) or
Python (everything else) with the occasional bit of C for stuff that
needs to run really fast. I'm also passingly familiar with a number of
other langauges (C++, Java, Perl, etc). 

So why is O'Caml giving me so much trouble? I've been trying to pick it
up for about a week now, read various online tutorials. I'm just having
no luck at all. My largest program to date (that works) is all of 3
lines long, and simply printed out the command line arguments passed to
the program.

My biggest source of problems seems to be the syntax. I'm totally
confused as far as ; vs ;; vs nothing, when to use ( ), and things of
the like. It doesn't help that the compiler is completly naive when it
comes to Syntax Errors. It would be so helpful if it could give an error
message that actually told the programmer what it expected. I realise
that O'Camls syntax allows many things, so that it may be hard to say
exactly what it WAS expecting in all cases, but surely SOMETHING
meaningful, besides a charater postion could be given? 

What I'd really like is a site with examples of actual programs. Most of
the example code I've seen is A: Not commened and B: Recursive
Mathematical functions. I'd really love to see an example, of say,
reading in a file, looking at each character, and doing something when
it encounters, say, a tab. Or any other such program that actually does

I really want to like O'Caml. It seems to offer a very nice feature set,
and the ability to compile to super-fast native code is the icing on the
cake. Right now though, I'm frustrated and on the verge of giving up.


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