[MLton] mingwows

Andrew Kennedy akenn@microsoft.com
Fri, 11 Nov 2005 10:34:39 -0000

> I'm wondering what advantage the bat script has over the standard
> MLton script that can be run in MSYS?  Would there really be people
> who have MinGW but not MSYS, and so would prefer to run MLton from a
> DOS shell?

What's MSYS? (Seriously, I do not know - OK, I just looked at the MinGW
site and found it).

Let's say I've just bought a PC from PC-World, or wherever, with Windows
XP preinstalled. Now I want to write some SML code using mlton. I've
never touched a Linux/Unix system in my life. I thought that "tar" was
something people put on roads. "cygwin" sounds like a character from a
sci-fi series. So I go to the MLton website, click on the "Windows MLton
installer", and it pops up a window asking me to accept the license
terms, and then goes and installs the compiler, without rebooting :-). I
start up the Windows Command Prompt, type "mlton hello.sml" and It Just

Roughly speaking, the user just described is Me. Now, given that there
is a dependency on MinGW, clearly we have to insert one step into the
install process - even better, if the MLton installer could point me to
the MinGW site if MinGW is not already installed.

In some ways I dislike installers, because I don't know what they're
doing on my behalf. So a second-best choice would be "xcopy-install"
i.e. just copy the MLton distribution into a directory (let's say I
called it C:\mlton), and when I type "C:\mlton\mlton" It Just Works
(that's the model we use for the command-line version of SML.NET).

Given a few days or so, I could produce an installer and/or
xcopy-install procedure. Any takers?

- Andrew.