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Estimating the size of the ocaml community
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Date: 2005-02-04 (08:55)
From: Ville-Pertti Keinonen <will@e...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Estimating the size of the ocaml community
On Thu, 2005-02-03 at 22:16 +0100, Thomas Fischbacher wrote:

> There are quite a few things which I don't like at all about ocaml:

I hope you don't mind getting yet another set of comments...

> (1) I by far do not have the flexibility in extending the language with 
> own syntax which I have in Lisp.

This is true.

> (2) Speaking of syntax, there's a lot of unnecessary cruft in virtually 
> any language besides LISP (or rather, Scheme).

Usually what someone considers "unnecessary cruft" is defined by what
they're used to.  People are used to the annoyances of the languages
they use the most and don't tend to notice them, but when using a less
familiar language, pay a lot of attention to anything that seems more

As an obvious example, neither Common Lisp or Scheme have
pattern-matching.  Accessing data via pattern matching is often far more
convenient than via c[ad]+r, slot accessors etc.  While many Scheme
implementations do have pattern matching as an extension, the syntax is
more verbose and it doesn't give you the nice symmetry between
constructing and deconstructing values.

In my experience, unless you're using a lot of "ad hoc" data structures
or not checking for errors, OCaml is usually less verbose than Scheme.
When comparing to Common depends on how much magic you're

> (6) I cannot easily COMPILE a function to fast machine code from the REPL.

A runtime for OCaml that would be more like Common Lisp implementations
or SML/NJ would be an interesting project.

I don't think it would be too difficult, either (based on experimenting
with replacing the asmcomp back-end).

> (7) I cannot easily (format t "DEBUG: compsite-thingy-bla-now-is ~A~%" bla).

This could also be addressed by a more advanced runtime that always
included the top-level.