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Concepts in Programming Languages

Concepts in Programming Languages

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By: John C. Mitchell (Author)  (Hardcover - 2002)
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» Hardcover: (540 pages)
» Publisher Cambridge University Press (October 14, 2002)
» ISBN: 0521780985
» Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.3 x 1.3 inches
» Sales Rank: #388,716 in Books
» Average Customer Review
Book Description
Concepts in Programming Languages elucidates the central concepts used in modern programming languages, such as functions, types, memory management, and control. The book is unique in its comprehensive presentation and comparison of major object-oriented programming languages. Separate chapters examine the history of objects, Simula and Smalltalk, and the prominent languages C++ and Java. The author presents foundational topics, such as lambda calculus and denotational semantics, in an easy-to-read, informal style, focusing on the main insights provided by these theories. Advanced topics include concurrency, concurrent object-oriented programming, program components, and inter-language interoperability. A chapter on logic programming illustrates the importance of specialized programming methods for certain kinds of problems.

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Average Customer Review
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the subject, June 18, 2007
Jeffrey Rubard (Beaverton, OR US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Concepts in Programming Languages (Hardcover)
I can't speak to John Mitchell's skill as a lecturer, but some of the complaints here seem to betray a misunderstanding of the purpose of the book: to serve as an introduction to programming language theory, such as can be found in Mitchell's other book *Foundations for Programming Languages*. Mitchell is taking you *out of* the marketable skills zone and into abstract computer science, and he's being pretty nice about it -- the book contains friendly precises of topics like lambda calculus and denotational semantics, which make up the formal core of programming languages. What you will learn has applications in all popular programming languages, even if it's not spelled out in the text.

ML was a good choice as an example language, because it includes many of the features a programming language might have (being both imperative and functional), and furthermore is a serious research language on account of its well-understood semantics and type system. Focusing on it to... Read more
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing the point, August 9, 2004
This review is from: Concepts in Programming Languages (Hardcover)
While I cannot speak to the quality of Mitchell's course, having only read his book, the earlier criticisms of his use of ML in the book are missing the point of a programming languages class. It's not meant to teach you a random sampling of the 2500+ computer languages that are out there. The idea is to learn about the fundamental paradigms of programming, with a focus on the functional and logical approaches since students are generally already familiar with imperative and object-oriented programming.

ML is one of several good choices for illustrating functional programming, and is actually one of the more popular functional languages (especially the OCaML dialect.) There are many well written books and tutorials on the ML family of languages freely available on the web if you need more examples or detail than he provides in this text. However, the point isn't to learn ML, but rather that once you understand functional programming in any language, you can take... Read more
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to programming language concepts, April 11, 2010
This review is from: Concepts in Programming Languages (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed reading Concepts in Programming Languages.

The book covers a little bit of everything. It includes an introduction to mathematical foundations such as computability theory and lambda calculus, but I found it quite readable (at the time when I was reading it, which was early during my undergraduate studies). It also includes a tiny bit on the semantics of programming languages (that is, how to describe the meaning formally), which is another important concept from the mathematical foundations of programming languages.

Then it talks about many programming languages and concepts that come from them and are interesting including LISP (which is a basis for Clojure), ML (a basis for Microsoft's F#) but also Simula and Smalltalk (two fundamental OO languages that inspired all modern OO languages, both dynamic such as Ruby and static such as Java). It also talks about C++ and Java (practical OO languages with quite different approach). There are also a... Read more
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