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Pre-compiled ocaml binary for windows
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Date: 2010-12-07 (09:30)
From: Alain Frisch <alain@f...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: Pre-compiled ocaml binary for windows
On 12/07/2010 10:03 AM, Sylvain Le Gall wrote:
> We will provide ocamlopt (32/64 bits). But indeed, the toolchain can be
> an issue (esp. masm). I plan to use VS2008.

I don't think MASM is going to be an issue. FWIW, the Windows 7 SDK 
(which has nothing to do with Windows 7) contains everything needed 
(including the VS2008 C compiler, the assembler, the linker, the 
libraries, etc).

> Maybe the native Lexifi's amd64/x86 backend is a better option. If we
> are able to use this backend, we still have to use a linker ?

This native backend removes the need for an external assembler for using 
ocamlopt. Flexdll has a standalone mode to build DLLs which works fine 
to build pure OCaml .cmxs plugins for ocamlopt (there might be some 
issues when linking C libraries in the cmxs). But yes, to build the main 
program, you still need an external linker (this could be addressed by 
working more on flexdll) and also static runtime objects and libraries.

An option could be to ship a minimalistic main program, which simply 
dynlinks .cmxs files given on its command line.

>> Not building labltk seems ok. As for the graphical toplevel, I think
>> there are some pending bugs (random crashes) with the current version
>> under recent versions of Windows, so it's probably better not to include
>> it. Some support for installing the emacs mode automatically and/or a
>> version of ledit would be useful replacements.
> I didn't known this fact. This is another reason for not building
> labltk. Since I almost never use it, I don't think it will be a big
> loose.

The graphical toplevel does not depend on labltk, so the two issues are 
really unrelated.  For crashes with the OCamlWin.exe, I was thinking 
about and, but this might be pure 
FUD. The real problem is that nobody seems interested enough in this 
graphical toplevel to put serious work on it.

> I will probably look for ledit (or lwt toplevel) which seems a better
> alternative to emacs (too heavy too install).

If your hope is to make OCaml accessible to beginner hobbyists under 
Windows (I assume this is the primary audience for pre-compiled 
binaries), you might still want to provide easy ways to use code 
editors. Providing easy access only to the toplevel (be it graphical, or 
with a line-editor) might be a turnoff for beginners.

-- Alain