[mercury-users] Comments & feedback on Ralph Becket's tutorial (long)

Ralph Becket rafe at csse.unimelb.edu.au
Wed May 19 17:24:26 AEST 2010


first off, many many thanks for all this feedback.  I think it's an order of
magnitude more comprehensive than the sum of all feedback received in
the past and, when I get time, I will act on it.

I only have a few minutes to reply right now, but I'd like to quickly
explain the motivation for the structure of the first chapter.  I
intended that chapter to be a whistle-stop tour of the key features of
the language, hoping that the reader would look at each program and
"just get it" without being too concerned about the nitty gritty.  From
your comments, I've probably missed the mark there.

I was striving to avoid connecting things too strongly with C for a
number of reasons.  The first is that apparently many universities don't
teach C (preferring Java, in the name of all that is holy...)  The next
reason on the list is that looking at Mercury with your imperative hat
on will likely lead you astray: at some point the C-ist is going to find
out that they don't have destructive update and then the wheels are
really going to come off.  On the other hand, I take your point about
connecting the tutorial to concepts with which readers will be familiar.

> learned the Commodore's assembly language at 15

Ah, the good old days.  I was a Z80 type.

> I'll stop here.  I hope I haven't caused offense; I really appreciate
> the tutorial, in any state of writing.  I will also take the liberty
> of posting to comp.lang.prolog, which seems appropriate, and would
> perhaps generate discussion. 

No offence taken at all, it's all very helpful and much appreciated.
As I say, when I get some time, I will act on your advice.

I haven't followed c.l.p in ages, maybe I should take another look.

-- Ralph
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