[mercury-users] "What do you think about Mercury ?"

Issarlk issarlk at wanadoo.fr
Tue Aug 17 09:58:09 AEST 1999

Renaud Bournonville wrote:
> - Why are you using Mercury ? (instead of another imperative/declarative
> language)

I use mercury (at home for my own programs) because it is different than
imperative languages like C or Java (new and so "more fun"). I recently
had a look at a lot of languages to find one that I liked and chose
mercury because it is the most imppresive and bizarre looking and is
also very expressive. I hesitated between Haskell, Objective Caml,
Eiffel, Python and Mercury but chose the later because the compiler is
distributed under GPL, works fine on my Linux box, has a simple
interface to C and because it simply looked to be the most expressive. 

> - What are you developing in Mercury ? (the main idea is enough, we
> don't need all the details !)  [Tyson's answer : "A Mercury compiler !!"

I just finished a parser that reads data files for an interactive
graphical program that I want to do in mercury (with C for the graphical

> - What do you like/don't you like in Mercury ?
I like the rigorousness of the compiler ; it is a big change from C. I
also like logic programming + functional programing, it is a very
interesting way of programming.

> - What are the advantages working in Mercury ?
The advantages the compiler gives : a program where bugs are due to a
bad conception / bad algorithms instead of bugs that result from lacks
in the language : memory leaks due to unbalance allocation / free,
errors in pointer arithmetic that the compiler doesn't report, function
that should return a value but where you forgot to put a return (and
which compile fine)... 
for short, the big advantage for me is the large amount of checking at
compile time which reduce considerably the time spent debugging.

> - What features do you specially appreciate in the language ?
I appreciate the functional features : currying, higher order predicates
and putting predicates in data types... 
I also appreciate the logic features : backtracking...

> - Couldn't you find these in other programming languages ? Why ?
I don't know of other language that combine these features.

> - What do you find "really usefull" in Mercury ?
Nothing in particular in the language / everything is useful.

> - What weaknesses/drawbacks do you find in Mercury ?
I wish mercury was lazy instead of being strict. (note : I don't know if
this makes sense for a logic + functional programming language).

> - What would you change in the language/implementation ?
> - What kind of problems/errors have you encountered when you came to
> Mercury, coming from another language -Prolog?- or not ? Could you
> describe your experience ?
I came from C, C++, pascal and Java so I encoutered the usual problems
when comming from imperative language, ie thinking completelly

Gilbert Roulot
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