The Missing Link - Dynamic Components for ML

The Missing Link - Dynamic Components for ML, Andreas Rossberg. ICFP 2006.

Despite its powerful module system, ML has not yet evolved for the modern world of dynamic and open modular programming, to which more primitive languages have adapted better so far. We present the design and semantics of a simple yet expressive first-class component system for ML. It provides dynamic linking in a type-safe and type-flexible manner, and allows selective execution in sandboxes. The system is defined solely by reduction to higher-order modules plus an extension with simple module-level dynamics, which we call packages. To represent components outside processes we employ generic pickling. We give a module calculus formalising the semantics of packages and pickling.

This is a very nice paper showing how to integrate dynamic loading into the ML module system. Er, I guess I'm repeating the abstract. I thought this paper, in addition to the feature it gave, was also a good demonstration of how to put the Dreyer-Crary-Harper account of ML modules to work.