Programming Tutorials

Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Standard ML

Standard ML is a safe, modular, strict, functional, polymorphic programming language with type inference, garbage collection, compile-time type checking, and exception handling. It also offers immutable data types and updatable references, abstract data types, and parametric modules.

Standard ML is a declarative language. A Standard ML program consists of a sequence of declarations of types, values (including functions) and exceptions, possibly embedded in modules. A basic module is called a structure in Standard ML, module interfaces are called signatures, and parameterised modules are called functors.

Standard ML is one of the two main dialects of the ML programming language.

Some of the hard parts of learning Standard ML are: Recursion, pattern matching, type inference (guessing the right types but never allowing implicit type conversion). Standard ML is distinguished from Haskell by including references, allowing variables to be updated.

Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Standard ML.

1. Programming in Standard ML ’97: An On-line Tutorial by Stephen Gilmore

Standard ML is a programming language which combines the elegance of functional programming with the effectiveness of imperative programming. This tutorial introduces important concepts in the language, illustrating them with brief examples. The examples are suitable for cutting-and-pasting into an online session.

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2. Introduction to Standard ML by Robert Harper

These notes (106 pages) offer an informal introduction to the Standard ML programming language and its use. It looks at the core language and the modules system.

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3. Learn Standard ML in Y minutes by Simon Shine and contributors

This is a whirlwind tour of Standard ML.

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4. Why Standard ML? by the University of Chicago

This is a set of slides offering an introductory tutorial.

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5. A Gentle Introduction to ML by Andrew Cumming

This is aimed at students with some programming skills, but new to functional languages. It consists almost entirely of exercises and diversions, these are intended to be completed at a machine with at least some supervision.

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6. Standard ML and Objective Caml, Side by Side

This page gives a quick side by side comparison of program fragments in the two ML dialects Standard ML (’97 revision) and Objective Caml (version 3.12). It is primarily targetted at people who need to convert code between the two dialects.

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All tutorials in this series:

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