Maturing Learn-OCaml to version 1.0: Gateway to the OCaml World

Authors: Dario Pinto
Date: 2023-12-13
Category: Tooling

Camels are known to be able to walk long distances. They have adapted to an inhospitable environment and help Humanity daily.

Camels are known to be able to walk long distances. They have adapted to an inhospitable environment and help Humanity daily.

From the very start OCamlPro has been trying to help ease the learning of the OCaml language. OCaml has been used around the world to teach about a variety of Computer Science domains, from algorithmic to calculus, or functional programming and compilation.

The language had been long taught in Academia when arose initiatives to offer simple web tools to write and compile OCaml code in a simple web browser. We launched the TryOCaml web editor for OCaml all the way back in 2012. We were then appointed in 2015 by Roberto Di Cosmo from the French University Paris-Diderot, to create the OCaml FUN MOOC platform - and helped write the exercises used as pedagogical resources for the Introduction to Functional Programming.

That is how the Learn-OCaml open source learning platform was born, created then maintained at OCamlPro until 2018. Its steering was then transferred to the OCaml Software Foundation in 2019 and the project steadily grew into a fully fledged tool used by teachers and students around the world to this day.

Kudos to all OCaml teachers around the world, and to the LearnOCaml team, shepherded by Louis Gesbert

Learn-OCaml v1.0

What is Learn-OCaml today?

Learn-OCaml is a web platform for orchestrating exercises for OCaml programming, with automated grading. The interface features a code editor and client-side evaluation and grading; it can be served statically, but if running the bundled server there are also server-side saves, facilities for teachers to follow the progress of students, give assignments, get grades, etc.

We are thrilled to announce that the steady work that has been accomplished over the years on Learn-OCaml is finally bearing its fruits in the form of a long-awaited soon-to-be-released v1.0!

For all details relative to the upcoming 1.0 release, do refer to Louis' post on OCaml Discuss.

For all historical intents and purposes, do refer to the original 2016 OCaml Workshop paper on Learn-OCaml which kickstarted a long stream of updates and improvements to the platform and its public corpus exercices.

The maintenance and development work on the platform is now funded by the OCaml Software Foundation.

About OCamlPro:

OCamlPro is a R&D lab founded in 2011, with the mission to help industrial users benefit from experts with a state-of-the-art knowledge of programming languages theory and practice.

  • We provide audit, support, custom developer tools and training for both the most modern languages, such as Rust, Wasm and OCaml, and for legacy languages, such as COBOL or even home-made domain-specific languages;
  • We design, create and implement software with great added-value for our clients. High complexity is not a problem for our PhD-level experts. For example, we helped the French Income Tax Administration re-adapt and improve their internally kept M language, we designed a DSL to model and express revenue streams in the Cinema Industry, codename Niagara, and we also developed the prototype of the Tezos proof-of-stake blockchain from 2014 to 2018.
  • We have a long history of creating open-source projects, such as the Opam package manager, the LearnOCaml web platform, and contributing to other ones, such as the Flambda optimizing compiler, or the GnuCOBOL compiler.
  • We are also experts of Formal Methods, developing tools such as our SMT Solver Alt-Ergo (check our Alt-Ergo Users' Club) and using them to prove safety or security properties of programs.

Please reach out, we'll be delighted to discuss your challenges: or book a quick discussion.