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HELP PML                                       Robert Duncan, March 1990
                                                   Revised November 1994

An introduction to the Poplog Standard ML subsystem.

         CONTENTS - (Use <ENTER> g to access required sections)

  1   Introduction

  2   Running PML

  3   Initialisation

  4   Command Line Arguments

  5   PML and Pop-11

  6   Further Documentation

  7   References and Further Reading

1  Introduction

Poplog ML  (PML)  is  an  implementation  of  the  programming  language
Standard ML (SML): a statically-scoped, strict functional language  with
a polymorphic, static type system, a type-secure exception mechanism and
a powerful module  facility for the  support of large-scale  programming
projects. Both  the static  and dynamic  semantics of  SML are  formally
defined: see  references [1,2]  below.  Poplog ML  attempts  a  faithful
implementation of the formal semantics: known deficiences are documented
in HELP * BUGS; extensions are described in HELP * FEATURES.

most of  the  documentation  files cross-referenced  here  are  directly
available only when running the PML subsystem. To read the files outside
of PML, use the <ENTER> pml command. For example:

    <ENTER> pml help bugs

    <ENTER> pml help features

2  Running PML

PML is supplied  as a Poplog  saved-image. To  run it, give  +pml as  an
argument to the pop11 command invoked from the shell or DCL, as follows:

    $ pop11 +pml

Most sites should have a  command abbreviation installed for this  which
will allow you to type just:

    $ pml

instead. In either case,  PML will print a  version banner, followed  by
the word Setml and the primary prompt "-", something like:

    Sussex Poplog (Version 15.03 Thu Jun 20 16:20:20 BST 1996)
    Copyright (c) 1982-1996 University of Sussex. All rights reserved.
    Standard ML (Version 2.1)


Setml is printed  whenever the PML  system is reset --  on start-up,  or
after an error or an interrupt. The primary prompt indicates that PML is
waiting for new  input: you can  then type either  a standard  top-level
declaration for evaluation, or a  PML command. A secondary prompt,  "=",
will appear whenever the input typed so far is incomplete.

Commands are not a part of Standard  ML: they are an addition to PML  to
allow access to features  of the Poplog system.  Useful commands to  try

    - help topic
        Displays documentation on the given topic

    - load file
        Compiles a file

    - ved file
        Invokes the editor on a file

    - bye
        Exits PML

The full set of commands is described in HELP * COMMANDS.

3  Initialisation

You can tailor the PML environment to your own taste by creating a  file
called "" containing  code which  you would  like executed  every
time you run PML. This could involve precompiling useful library  files,
opening structures,  changing compiler  control variables  or any  other
top-level declarations. PML will try to compile the "" file  each
time it starts up: the file  is sought first in your *poplib  directory,
and then failing that, in the current directory.

This initialisation behaviour is the same as that of other parts of  the
Poplog system and is  described more fully  in HELP * INITIAL. PML  also
compiles the "init.p" files  described in that  file for general  Poplog
initialisation, and  an  ""  file in  the  popsys  directory  for
site-wide bug fixes or patches.

4  Command Line Arguments

The PML image  respects all the  standard Poplog command-line  arguments
described fully in the introduction to REF * SYSTEM. Of these, the  most
useful to ML users are:

        initialises the X interface (where applicable). Currently  there
        is no support for  driving X directly from  ML, but the  X-based
        version of the editor (XVed) does become available.

        suppresses  run-time  actions:  recommended  when  making  saved

    ved file
    im file
    help topic
        invoke the corresponding Ved (or XVed) commands.


    $ pml %x ved
        Starts  up  PML  and  immediately  invokes  XVed  on  the   file

In addition, there are  a number of  command-line arguments specific  to
PML, which work identically for  both Unix and VMS.  Currently-supported
arguments are:

    -load file
    -l file
        loads the named file. This is just like giving a load command to
        the top-level prompt, except that the file is compiled in  quiet
        mode. You can give several load arguments to PML, and the  files
        will be compiled in order.

    -eval exp
    -e exp
        evaluates the  given expression.  This is  just like  typing  an
        expression to the  top-level prompt, except  that the result  is
        not printed. It will still,  however, be available as the  value
        it in  the  top-level environment.  You  can give  several  eval
        arguments to PML, and the expressions will be evaluated in order
        at the point at which they are encountered.

    -ved file
    -v file
        starts up the editor Ved on the named file. The file name can be
        omitted, in which case a default name is used. See HELP * MLVED.

    -im file
    -i file
        starts up in Ved ``immediate mode'' in the named file. The  file
        name can be omitted, in which  case a default name is used.  See
        HELP * MLVED/'Immediate mode'.

        suppresses  compilation  from  the  standard  input.  With  this
        option, the arguments  ved and  im are ignored,  and any  errors
        resulting  from   load  or   eval  arguments   cause   immediate

        suppresses compilation of the "" and "init.p" files.

        suppresses printing of the banner.

        stops command-line argument processing: any arguments  following
        this are left unread.


    $ pml -l mylib
        Loads the file  "" from the  current directory and  then
        goes into the usual interactive top-level. Identifiers  declared
        in  the  "mylib"  file  will  be  available  in  the   top-level

    $ pml -ns -l mylib -e "startup()"
        Loads the file "" as  above, but then runs the  function
        "startup" (which must have been  defined in that file). The  -ns
        option suppresses any compilation from the standard input, so if
        the startup function ever returns the PML process will terminate

    $ pml -i
        Starts up PML in immediate mode in the file "".

These extra arguments can be used in conjunction with the Poplog special
arguments (i.e. those starting "%")  provided that the Poplog  arguments
are given first. For example:

    $ pml %x -i
        Starts up PML and then XVed in immediate mode.

    $ pml %nort -l mylib
        Loads the  file  ""  as before,  but  with  no  run-time
        actions performed -- useful if the file makes a saved image.

5  PML and Pop-11

From inside PML you can get to the Pop-11 top-level with the command

    - pop11

To return, use the macro

    : pml

Experienced users who wish  to build their  own saved images  containing
PML can compile the subsystem from scratch by loading LIB * PML:

    : lib pml

The  procedures  described  in  REF * SUBSYSTEM  can  then  be  used  to
initialise and start up the PML  top-level. To compile PML programs  use
the procedure ml_compile:

ml_compile(source)                                      [vars procedure]
        Compiles an ML program from source which may be a filename (word
        or string),  a character  repeater,  an input  device or  an  ML

For help in writing mixed-language programs in Pop-11 and ML see:

6  Further Documentation

    A summary of all the PML help files

    Some simple examples of programming in SML

    Ved commands tailored for PML

7  References and Further Reading

[1] Robin Milner, Mads Tofte & Robert Harper
    The Definition of Standard ML
    MIT Press, 1990

[2] Robin Milner & Mads Tofte
    Commentary on Standard ML
    MIT Press, 1991

[3] Jeffrey D. Ullman
    Elements of ML Programming
    Prentice-Hall, 1993

[4] Lawrence C. Paulson
    ML for the Working Programmer
    Cambridge University Press, 1991

[5] Chris Reade
    Elements of Functional Programming
    Addison-Wesley, 1989

[6] Ake Wikstrom
    Functional Programming Using Standard ML
    Prentice-Hall, 1987

[7] Robert Harper
    Introduction to Standard ML
    University of Edinburgh technical report, LFCS-86-14, November 1986
    (revised Nick Rothwell & Kevin Mitchell, 1989)

--- C.all/pml/help/pml
--- Copyright University of Sussex 1994. All rights reserved.