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

Peter Ross petdr at cs.mu.OZ.AU
Thu Aug 19 14:35:38 AEST 1999

On 16-Aug-1999, Renaud Bournonville <rbournon at info.fundp.ac.be> wrote:
> Hi all,
> We are 2 belgian students, in the last year of our master's degree in
> Computer Science in Belgium. We are now finishing the writing of our
> thesis, which is about Mercury.
> We would like to have your comments about Mercury. Everyone has his own
> experience, so some could have positive or negative impression...
> - Why are you using Mercury ? (instead of another imperative/declarative
> language) 

Because I am doing my PhD on extending the compiler.

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

Extending the compiler.

> - What do you like/don't you like in Mercury ?

    * static checking
    * ability to return more then one thing

    * syntax 
    * lack of named records

> - What are the advantages working in Mercury ?

The static checking and the simple semantics of predicates.

> - What features do you specially appreciate in the language ?

The type, mode and determinism checking.

> - Couldn't you find these in other programming languages ? Why ?

You can't find the static checking in any other logic programming
language.  This is because the Prolog has non logical predicates.

>   Can you find these in other programming languages ? Why ?

Functional languages are similar except for the lack of multiple return

> - What do you find "really usefull" in Mercury ?

The static checking.

> - What weaknesses/drawbacks do you find in Mercury ?

You sometimes have to type a lot of information in to do not very much.

> - What would you change in the language/implementation ?

The syntax (to what I have no idea) 

> - 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 ?
The hardest problem was learning to think declaratively.  I came from an
imperative background with a few lectures in Prolog/Miranda.

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