Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic A Critique of Standard ML, Andrew Appel
started 2/17/2001; 2:39:44 AM - last post 2/18/2001; 10:08:23 PM
Ehud Lamm - A Critique of Standard ML, Andrew Appel  blueArrow
2/17/2001; 2:39:44 AM (reads: 1690, responses: 2)
A Critique of Standard ML, Andrew Appel
I added a new department for language comparisons and critiques. Deciding if a link such as this one should go into a general category like functional or into critiques is, naturally, not clear cut.

Since the link above is SML specific, and deals with issues that are not general to FP, I chose to place it here.

The paper deals with a wide range of issues, from safety to syntactic quirks.
Posted to critiques by Ehud Lamm on 2/17/01; 2:41:02 AM

AndrewM - Re: A Critique of Standard ML, Andrew Appel  blueArrow
2/18/2001; 8:43:42 AM (reads: 1228, responses: 0)
It should be noted that the critique is actually talking about SML '90. Many of the problems discussed were (I think) fixed with SML '97.

Jo Totland - Re: A Critique of Standard ML, Andrew Appel  blueArrow
2/18/2001; 10:08:23 PM (reads: 1206, responses: 0)
No, most of these are still problems with SML. Most of them will remain that way, since it's not possible to fix them without creating incompatibilities (e.g. eqtype, a context-free grammar, syntactically visible constructors, readable syntax, overloaded operators).

The article is pretty interesting. As a user of SML, I can only say I agree with Appel in most of his observations. One of the nicest things about it is that it is written by someone who enjoys, uses (and in fact is an authority on) SML.

The fact that it is written by an SML user makes the article much less biased than the average C++-critique or something like that, written by some proponent of some other language who cannot get to gripe with the fact that C++ is not working the same way his favourite language does.

Anyways, he has several good points, both on the strength and weakness of ML. Good stuff if you like ML, probably useless if you don't know the language pretty well already.