Tuesday, 2 October 2007

What do you take with you when police are banging on your door at 4am and telling you to exit the building?

Joel Reymont posted the following review of OCaml for Scientists in August 2006 that was since lost in the aether:

"Objective CAML for Scientists August 23rd, 2006

There’s a trash compartment a few meters in front of our windows and down a few steps of stairs. It’s a small pass-through room of sorts with exit to the street. It houses a few large wheeled garbage bins and it also happens to be right next to the electrical room housing the transformer for our urbanization.

There was a huge fire in the garbage room about 4am today and there, apparently, was a dead body. I’ll try to take and post some pictures later to help you visualize what I’m talking about.

What do you take with you when police are banging on your door at 4am and telling you to exit the building? Why, of course passports, bank cards, cell phone, my wife’s 15” PowerBook G4, my 17” MacBook Pro, a pair of Nintendo DS Lites plus cartridges. Also The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin and, here’s the kicker, Objective CAML for Scientists by Jon Harrop of the Flying Frog Consultancy.

This is a self-published book that cost me about 130 euro and it’s also one of the best, if not the best, OCaml tutorials around. The book consists of 260 spiral-bound pages printed on a good ink-jet or color laser printer. All the code examples are colored according to syntax.

The book follows a logical path through introduction to OCaml (syntax, types, pattern-matching, etc.), program structure, data structures, visualization, optimization, libraries, examples and advanced topics. The coverage is encompassing and the writing is clear.

I particularly like the chapters on visualization with OpenGL (very useful) and optimization. I haven’t seen such a thorough treatment of optimization in any other OCaml tutorials. I wish there was more material on improving cache coherency, though.

Overall, the book is pricey but unique or I wouldn’t have taken it with my passports!"

1 comment:

janko said...

One day when I will have enough money to afford it I will have to buy this book. Even the few examples on your page are outstanding. What must then the book be. :)