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April 05, 2001

Tea-time on the Titanic

Gah! I'm going down! I've got more fun things to do than I can possibly
make time for!

In addition to the microscope, the PS2, the monthly subscriptions to Scientific American and Atlantic Monthly, the weekly subscription to New Scientist (I've given up all pretense of keeping up with those), the ReplayTV and my self-paced study of Haskell (and let's not forget that Spring is here, and the roads are drying up enough for me to try taking out the bike again), I've got another distraction coming up!

Recall that I've been studying functional programming for a short while, really only taking a couple hours a week, using the Haskell programming language as a launching point. Over time I've formed a (weak) opinion that Haskell is not suited to the performance intensive applications that I tend to work on.

So I have been casting around for a candidate, and I think that Objective Caml (Ocaml for short) is a good enough choice. Where Haskell is a 'pure, non-strict, functional language', Ocaml is an 'impure, strict functional language with imperative features'. So there is enough orthogonality to make things interesting, especially considering that the syntax of the two is so different. Moreover, Ocaml has won first and second place in last year's Functional Programming Languages contest (I forget the official name).

But it is an academic language, so documentation is usually of the form "if you understand the language, this documentation will make perfect sense." Not a lot of help for an outsider. So I ordered the only book on Ocaml in the English language (it's designers are French professors). And it arrived today! Gah!

Posted by dpwakefield at April 5, 2001 02:54 PM