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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 19 commentaires
70 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
waste of money 2 novembre 2006
Par Owen - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is a bad book. It's unfortunate, too, because it was a great idea. The book contains many errors, from typos to grammatical errors to code indentation issues to problems which demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the subject matter. As a professional OCaml programmer, it is clear to me that this was not written by somebody who understands the subject.

Trying to learn OCaml from this book is a very bad idea; you will end up discouraged and confused at best. Please don't buy it.
44 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Disappointing 7 novembre 2006
Par S. Chaudhary - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Monday morning, on release day of this book, I stopped by a B&N to pick up this book. When they didn't have it, I drove an hour to try another store. Finally I ordered it on Amazon and paid extra for second day delivery.

Since I am relatively new to functional programming, I can't judge the technical content. I can tell you that other beginners should stay away from this book.

The writing style is surprisingly bad, considering the author has a degree in English and this book had a professional editor. Much of the book looks like a bad cut & paste job. The author often describes a concept in very general terms, dumps a dozen lines of code and moves on without ever explaining what the code is doing (strange for a programming language book).

There are free OCaml tutorials on the web which do a much better job of explaining the language. The publisher did a good job with Practical Lisp, how come this book doesn't have the same quality? At $50, this book will be going right back to Amazon.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
It could be very good, but disappoints. The "Practical" chapters can be interesting. 5 juillet 2007
Par Andrei Formiga - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Executive summary: this is not Practical Common Lisp for OCaml. It's ambitious but disappointing. However, it's not so bad as it seems at first sight.

OCaml is a sexy language that combines the expressiveness and terseness of scripting languages with the static type checking and performance of languages like C++ and Java. A book may be a good investment to learn a new language, and this is one of the few books available on the language. How does it fare?

This book has received very harsh criticism overall, and it mostly deserves it; it is somewhat of a mess. But it is not uniformly bad: some chapters are very bad, others are acceptable or interesting, depending on your background. The problem seems to be that the worst chapters come first; although it shows signs of bad editing throughout, the first few chapters are especially bad. And I mean really bad: bad text, bad editing, bad examples, lots of senseless repetition, conceptual errors, using language features not yet introduced (and that go unexplained), the list goes on. Later chapters are considerably less irritating.

Clearly inspired by Peter Seibel's terrific book Practical Common Lisp, the chapters on this one are divided in two types: the ones that explain the language, and the "Practical" ones, containing extended examples. This is a great idea, and even badly executed as it may be in Practical OCaml, it still results in interesting chapters. Actually, the Practical chapters are overall better than the language ones; from them, a reader can get a real sense of using OCaml in simple but realistic projects, integrating many different libraries and tools, some of them not contained in the standard OCaml distribution. Still, the code in these chapters can be criticized for their style. For one thing, I think the author uses classes and other OO features much more often than they appear on real OCaml programs. Nonetheless, an experienced programmer could get a lot of interesting pointers from these chapters, by knowing what to salvage and what not to replicate from the code.

But the rest of the book, the OCaml chapters, are in really bad shape. They don't explain things very well, and fails miserably at the more difficult aspects of the language. The chapter on modules and functors is so bad as to be almost useless; don't try to learn about functors from this book. Camlp4, the nifty tool for metaprogramming and extension, is other subject with a bad treatment. The chapter on Threads could be improved a lot, but it still gives a general idea of how multithreaded programming in OCaml is. Again, for experienced developers, it should provide pointers for further study.

If experienced developers can get something from this book, novice ones should stay away from it. Not only is the text confusing, but there are a lot of glaring conceptual errors. Maybe some errors are to be expected from a trade book, from an author that is not an academic, but there
are things that are completely confusing. For example, this is the definition of type (page 24): "A type is a thing (or a collection of things) or value." And there is a lot more like this, unfortunately.

Overall, it has interesting parts, but surely not enough to make worth the full cover price. For experienced programmers and people already familiar with other typed functional programming languages (Haskell, F#, SML, etc), the book could serve as an initial guide for OCaml programming, but there are better alternatives around.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Worst programming book I have ever read 2 avril 2007
Par reeses - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This was the first technical book that I have bought somewhere other than Amazon in a while, and it reminded me why I tend to avoid that section of physical bookstores.

One gets the feeling that the author was learning OCaml while writing this book. He makes reference to several concepts that he does not explain. Monadic computation and polymorphism are two terms used that I feel the author did not actually understand while composing the book. In fact, if a book spends several paragraphs (badly) addressing the topic of polymorphism in a particular language, it should not leave it off with,"OCaml has polymorphic classes similar to C++ and Java, but the polymorphism at the type level in OCaml is parametric polymorphism instead of object polymorphism. The subtleties of the differences are well beyond the scope of this book..." and go on to direct the readers to a Usenet group.

There are also a number of forward references in the book -- rather than presenting only concepts that have been presented to that point in the book, there are numerous concepts mentioned or used and then annotated with,"This will be discussed in a later chapter," sometimes with no real reference allowing a read ahead.

Other complaints revolve around the typography of the book. It's bad enough to be misleading and confusing rather than just annoying. Critical characters are left out, which in the descriptions of the toplevel imply that certain things that should be marked as input will appear as output. If you didn't already know a little OCaml before picking up this book, you might think that you had typed something incorrectly, or were using the wrong version of the language environment, or have the wrong modules loaded.

I would recommend not buying this book and reading one of the online tutorials along with as many open source utilities as possible. A good book is inevitable, but this book doesn't even have a good page.
33 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very bad book 3 novembre 2006
Par Raj - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is one of the worst books I've read. What a waste of money...

The basic syntax issues are glossed over. Type polymorphism example is introduced with an error. I can go on and on

-with statement, type statement etc . Author does nothing to guide the reader through a maze of jumbled syntax. Terrible waste of a really good idea.
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