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SMLNET-USERS  January 2005

SMLNET-USERS January 2005

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Subject:

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Release of SML.NET

From:

Claudio Russo <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Claudio Russo <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 10 Jan 2005 13:41:15 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (118 lines)

We are happy to announce that a new release of SML.NET is
now available for download from

   http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/TSG/SMLNET/

SML.NET is a compiler for Standard ML which targets the .NET Common
Language Runtime and includes language interoperability extensions for
easy access to .NET libraries.

NEW FEATURES:

* Major improvements to the Visual Studio Integration Package 
Much more accurate and reliable Intellisense; hovering over a keyword
reports the type of its smallest enclosing expression; hovering over a
pattern reports the types of its bindings.

* Major improvements to Debugger Support 
Bindings in the Locals window now enter and exit scope
appropriately. The values of sub-expressions, not just identifiers, are
reported as local variables. Most constructed values now have symbolic
tags derived from the constructor name. Values of heap-allocated SML
datatypes now support ToString() and ToString(int depth) methods that
can be invoked in the VS Immediate window to inspect values at
runtime. Improved stepping behaviour. SML.NET stack frames now
typically have meaningful, not mangled, source names.

* Preliminary support for Whidbey 
The distribution has been updated to support the current 2.0 (Beta 1)
release of the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio
.NET 2005. SML.NET remains compatible with the initial 1.0 and 1.1
releases.  

NB: Although SML.NET fully supports SML polymorphism, SML.NET does not
yet produce or consume .NET generics (we hope to in future): this
release just allows you to continue working with your existing SML.NET
code on the 2.0 (Whidbey) platform.

* Improved code generation and performance 
SML.NET now makes much better use of locals and the stack; pattern
matching is compiled as a switch when appropriate.

* Various bug fixes 
Including: the annoying (but benign) overflow error when persisting
compilation units has been fixed; SML.NET now exploits some previously
missed opportunities for tail-recursion.

FEATURES:

* Support for all of Standard ML.
  SML.NET compiles all of SML '97 (with some very minor discrepancies).

* Support for the Basis library.
  Almost all of the Standard ML Basis Library is implemented.

* Seamless interoperability with other languages.
  SML.NET extends the SML language to support safe, convenient use of
  the .NET Framework libraries and code written in other languages for
  the CLR, such as C# or VB. SML.NET can both consume and produce .NET
  classes, interfaces, delegates etc.

* Command-line compilation.
  SML.NET supports traditional compilation from the command-line.

* Interactive compilation environment.
  Alternatively, you can control the compiler from an interactive
  environment. This lets you set and query options incrementally and
  see the signatures of compiled and imported SML.NET modules.

* Automatic dependency analysis.
  In either mode of compilation, the compiler requires only the names
  of root modules and a place to look for source code. It then does
  dependency analysis to determine which files are required and which
  need recompilation.

* Produces verifiable CLR IL.
  The output of the compiler is verifiable MSIL (Microsoft
  Intermediate Language) for the CLR.

* Whole program optimization.
  SML.NET performs optimizations on a whole program (or library) at
  once.  It usually produces small executables with fairly good
  performance.

LIMITATIONS:

* No interactive evaluation.
  The interactive environment is for compilation of stand-alone
  applications or libraries only. SML expressions can not be evaluated
  interactively and the use command is not available. For programs that
  make no use of the language extensions it is possible to develop and
  test them using a compiler such as Moscow ML or Standard ML of New
  Jersey and then to use SML.NET to produce final executables.

* Whole program optimization.
  Top-level SML modules are not compiled individually to .NET object
  code.  Instead, some compilation takes place on separate modules
  (type checking, translation to the compiler's own intermediate form,
  and some optimizations) but most is deferred until after the linking
  together of top-level modules. This improves performance of the
  generated code, but significantly increases (re)compilation times.

* Only CLR types at boundaries of compiled code.  
  The exposed interfaces of applications or DLLs compiled by SML.NET
  may only refer to CLR types (classes, interfaces, delegates,
  etc.). They may not expose SML-specific types (functions, datatypes,
  records, etc.).  In particular, this restriction means that one
  cannot compile an arbitrary SML module into a DLL for consumption
  even by other SML.NET programs: the module must be either linked
  into the client program at compile-time or use only CLR types at its
  interface.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

* Windows 98,2000 or XP
* .NET Framework V1.0 or V1.1
* (optional) Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2002 or 2003 

VERSION: SML.NET 1.1 build 1102 of 07-01-05.

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