The Hyperpessimist

The grandest failure.

My Thoughts on OCaml From the Very Beginning

After reading the pretty great reviews on “OCaml from the Very Beginning” I was interested, so I asked my university library to get it (my need for paper books is rather limited and someone else might profit from the copy).

Few weeks later, I had the copy in my hands, went to a park and skipped through, and truth be told, I was kinda disappointed. The premise is, that it is from the very beginning, which does quite literally mean “very beginning”. It is very basic and never goes much much into depth: the first chapter is about literals, there is one about lists, some basic pattern matching etc. but apart from a short explanation with some examples, it didn’t teach me anything new.

What surprised me was that the book is rather thin and out of that, roughly the latter half of the book is dedicated to answers to the questions posed in the chapters.

I believe I understand who the target audience is: computer science students at the beginning of their studies. At TUM we have a lecture colloquially known as “Info2”, which teaches students basic concepts of functional programming, typically using a statically typed functional language. When I took this course, this book would’ve been quite useful, but these days I’d recommend Real World OCaml a lot more.