[MLton] RE: VC++ as the C compiler for MLton? (Was: Compiler dependencies)

Brandon J. Van Every vanevery@indiegamedesign.com
Tue, 29 Jun 2004 19:57:49 -0700

Jesper Louis Andersen wrote:
> Brandon Van Every wrote:
> >
> > 'Support' is this nasty issue that lotsa people
> > don't want to be sullied with, because it's really boring work.
> > Nevertheless, it is what causes working programmers to
> > shift from one technology base to another.
> I am quite sure this was not the intent originally. If this
> is a religious war, then maybe, but I do not think that it is.

I agree that MLton development is probably not based on religious war.
However, the previous poster's statement was definitely religious war,
so I thought I'd counter it.  I do not like Microsoft, but I'm pragmatic
about making alternatives viable.

> For SML generally, we have SML.NET which compiles to the CIL
> in the .NET
> framework. While the CIL does not give you the perfect framework for
> running functional languages, it might be a better way if you want to
> have the ''generic masses'' embrace SML.

From a business software standpoint, yes that is true.  I'm not
personally interested in accounting software, however.  I'm interested
in natively compiled 3D graphics and AI code.  I'm concerned about game
development, which generally speaking pushes the envelope of what PCs
can handle.

> MLton is, after all, a rather
> specialized compiler, doing whole-program compilation with
> the advantages and disadvantages this aproach results in.

Yes, in industrial practice MLton could only be used as a 'final stage'
optimizer.  Large programs require modules that can be separately
compiled, otherwise you wait around all day for things to compile.

Does practical build infrastructure exist for using MLton in this way?
i.e. spend most of one's time building in SML/NJ, once in awhile build
MLton.  This might be as simple as another line in a makefile.  Or in
practice, maybe it isn't, so I ask.  Is anybody doing a lot of
development in this manner, i.e. a 2 compiler shuffle?  Actual use is
again a better sanity check than saying theoretically "it should work."

Cheers,                     www.indiegamedesign.com
Brandon Van Every           Seattle, WA

"The pioneer is the one with the arrows in his back."
                          - anonymous entrepreneur