[plt-scheme] The perfect teaching language--Is this too much to ask for?

From: Noel Welsh (noelwelsh at gmail.com)
Date: Sun Jun 14 07:51:02 EDT 2009

On Sun, Jun 14, 2009 at 12:19 PM, Martin DeMello<martindemello at gmail.com> wrote:
> Straying further off topic, has anyone done a teaching-oriented ML
> dialect, or even a first year course based on SML?

I believe the first year at Cambridge uses ML.

The issue is one of usability. It is pretty easy to get ML to spit out
an incomprehensible type error  at a location far removed from the
original error, and ML's type system is fairly simple. Furthermore, I
believe the experience of the PLT crew and others is that allowing
students to experiment with their programs -- actually run them
despite type errors -- leads to better understanding.

[And this is a valid complaint against a lot of theory-oriented work
done in programming languages. ICFP, for example, is full of papers
describing exotic type systems which is all well in theory, but what
happens when someone outside the research group actually tries to use


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