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One of the two parallel tracks in my 2009 Programming Language Plan begins with the Standard ML programming language, so it’s time to get started.
Standard ML Resources
- Standard ML of New Jersey is highly recommended and comes with a REPL.
- Moscow ML
- MLton is a Standard ML compiler with excellent performance. However, as far as I know, it doesn’t have a REPL, which makes it less than ideal for learning.
Since I was unfamiliar with the Standard ML programming language, I was surprised to find there are a number of good books about the language. Following are just some of them:
Other Educational Materials
Programming in Standard ML – excellent online book by Robert Harper of Carnegie Mellon University. Since I don’t know if Standard ML will simply be a stepping stone to Haskell (which in turn may not be a primary language for me) or a language I invest a lot of time in, I’m going to restrict myself from my normal method of purchasing a book or two when learning a new language. Instead, I’ll be going through Harper’s online book initially.
There are a number of great compilers for Standard ML (listed above), but I only need one to get started, so I chose Standard ML of New Jersey despite the funky name. It’s a popular version, and it has a REPL, so it’s good enough for me for now.
I develop software on Mac OSX and deploy on Ubuntu Linux. On my Ubuntu server, installing SML/NJ was as simple as:
sudo apt-get install smlnj
On Mac OSX, there are a couple of options listed on this page. I could use a pre-built system or the generic Unix install, so naturally I chose the generic Unix install which installed easily according to the simple directions.
# Download config.tgz tar xzf config.tgz config/install.sh # Wait for install to complete ~/software/smlnj$ rlwrap bin/sml Standard ML of New Jersey v110.69 [built: Sat May 2 12:04:08 2009] - print "hello, worldn"; hello, world val it = () : unit -
Great, looks like everything is working fine. Note, I use the rlwrap utility to provide a nicer REPL experience, but it’s not required.
I’ll continue with a series of posts with notes from working through “Programming in Standard ML”.
Peter Seibel is working on a book, “Coders at Work”, that will “contain interviews with around sixteen of the most interesting computer programmers alive today”. He has a page that lists 284 programmers, with links to more info on each one, that I think is worth perusing:
Peter is the author of Practical Common Lisp which I highly recommend.
Also see his Google Talk on Common Lisp.
Here’s Peter Seibel’s “Practical Common Lisp” talk at Google (about an hour):