Richard A. O'Keefe
ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Fri Apr 15 07:06:38 UTC 2016
On 15/04/16 4:16 pm, Manuel Gómez wrote:
> Although precise, coherent descriptions are available for Haskell 98
> and Haskell 2010 for reference in the Reports, the documentation
> shipped by GHC for many language extensions is often reasonably close
> in precision and coherence, as far as many students are concerned —
> and, more importantly, the learning process for a student rarely
> involves consuming a precise, coherent definition, and often involves
> a greater degree of experimentation and consumption of explanations
> aimed to teach, not to serve as reference for language implementors.
> I do not aim to suggest that standards are not useful —they surely
> are—, but standards are of limited use to many students.
I'm reminded of a Prolog textbook that was written with much thought and
care, diligently adhering scrupulously to the then-current draft of the ISO
Prolog standard, and tested in a Prolog implementation written to conform to
it. The book ended up being useless because the standard changed to be
somewhat less of a complete break from the past, so eventually there were
*no* Prolog systems compatible with the book.
Students themselves mostly do not know or care what the standard is.
What they *are* affected by is whether their teaching materials agree
with the implementation they are using.
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