[mercury-users] Re: Re: Some remarks and questions

lucsmorf at xs4all.nl lucsmorf at xs4all.nl
Sat May 3 22:12:00 AEST 2003

Hi Ralph,
I would really appreciate it if you can send me the Mercury textbook. I
have some teaching experience (OO/C++/MFC) and I can give you some
feedback on how I think a professional C++ programmer would pick up on the
Do you know of any studies on defect rates and software reliability for
projects using Mercury instead of common OO languages? I'm planning to do
some presentations in the future for our engineering group on .Net and
highlight advantages of multi-language development.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ralph Becket" <rafe at cs.mu.OZ.AU>
To: <mercury-users at cs.mu.OZ.AU>
Sent: 30 April, 2003 00:42
Subject: Re: [mercury-users] Some remarks and questions

> Hi Luc,
> C++ and Perl are less suitable for large, team projects for a number of
> reasons.  It is very difficult for compilers for these languages to
> identify anything other than trivial bugs in source code; they have
> poor abstractions and perceived performance gains due to these
> languages are often lost as soon as one uses their (rather weak)
> abstraction mechanisms.  Moreover, C++ and Perl make it relatively easy
> to break the abstraction barrier, which might be handy when meeting a
> deadline, but is a real headache when it comes to maintenance and reuse.
> Mercury makes it very hard for the programmer to take shortcuts.  Its
> pure, declarative nature allows the compiler to spot non-trivial errors
> (such as determinism problems), makes certain other kinds of bugs
> virtually impossible to express (e.g. one almost *never* needs to resort
> to run time type casts), has powerful type and mode systems that allow
> many constraints to be expressed in declarations rather than as code,
> and its highly expressive nature includes powerful (and unbreakable)
> abstraction mechanisms.
> There is already at least one commercial company (Mission Critical in
> Belgium) with a product whose "core logic" is implemented in Mercury.
> We have done some basic work on Visual Studio integration.  More remains
> to be done to provide something more in line with what a Visual Basic
> programmer would expect from the environment - this is a manpower issue
> more than anything else.  It's hard to give an ETA at the moment.
> We can now bootstrap the compiler on the MS CIL/CLR platform.  All but a
> few tests in our test suite compile and run correctly.
> I am currently going through the second draft of a Mercury text book
> aimed at first or second year university students and commercial
> programmers.  Give me a couple of days and I can send you part of the
> draft - any feedback would be gratefully received.
> Cheers,
> - Ralph
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