Real World OCaml Book Giveaway!

by Isabella Leandersson on Oct 14th, 2022

Real World OCaml is a fantastic book on OCaml and functional programming – a great resource for beginners and experienced users alike. At Tarides, we want to support new learners of OCaml as much as we can, making it easier for people to become part of the vibrant community surrounding the language. Tarides is proud to announce that we are sponsoring the Gold Open Access release of Real World OCaml, 2nd Edition by Yaron Minsky and Anil Madhavapeddy! It’s published by Cambridge University Press, and Tarides is making it possible for everyone to download the book to their local device. You can also receive free copies of the book (see below).

Accessible to Everyone and Free Copies

Since its first release in 2013, the book has been a fantastic resource for members across the community. On the Open Access release, its authors said, “As long-standing members of the open-source community, we are excited to see our work made more accessible for all users of OCaml.”

The authors and publisher have generously agreed to give away some physical copies of Real World OCaml. They really want to reward the amazing and active members of the community who are so engaged with the book. That’s why ten people who get a PR merged with a suggested improvement to the book on GitHub will receive a free copy of Real World OCaml! Just email when your PR has been merged, and we'll let you know if you're one of the lucky 10 who receive a book!

Gold Open Access

Until recently, you could read Real World OCaml online, but for offline access, you had to rely on the printed version. With Gold Open Access, you can now download a PDF to your local device for easy access at any time.

Whilst this expanded access will benefit everyone, one group that we are particularly excited to support are new learners. OCaml 5.0 is right around the corner, and we want to make the entry to OCaml for new users as easy as possible. Making the book more accessible also aligns with Tarides’s inclusivity goals; lowering the barriers to entry into the community will encourage greater participation among people who otherwise would not have had the means to join.

On this topic, David Tranah, the editorial director of Mathematical Sciences and Information Technology at Cambridge University Press, shares his unique insight into the benefits of Open Access: “Gold Open Access publishing allows anyone, anywhere, who can connect to the internet to stay up-to-date on the latest research. This in turn drives innovation and leads to new discoveries.”

We of course encourage anyone with the means to purchase a physical copy of the book, as it’s the result of a lot of hard work and dedication, and it comes in a beautifully printed physical edition.

Real World OCaml

The first version of Real World OCaml was written by Yaron Minsky, Anil Madhavapeddy, and Jason Hickey. Since its release, several contributors have improved on the original text, adding new examples, correcting errors, and expanding on chapters. The second edition was published in 2021 by Anil and Yaron and includes the most recent improvements and changes for an updated version of the book.

The book itself covers several aspects of OCaml, from fundamental concepts like functors and objects, to different tools and techniques, including the OCaml Platform and JSON, as well as a section on the compiler and runtime system. It takes its reader on a journey through OCaml moving from basics to increasingly advanced topics, making it the perfect companion for anyone regardless of their level of OCaml.

Over the years, Tarides has supported Real World OCaml by contributing to the book’s tooling infrastructure. Some of that work has transformed into standalone community projects like MDX that help to improve all OCaml documentation.

The book also has a mutually beneficial relationship with, as Thibaut Mattio (currently leading the community redesign effort of explains: “There are crosslinks between Real World OCaml and V3 of The new package documentation site is a great accompaniment to Real World OCaml, and there are multiple links to it embedded within the book for API documentation.” This is just one example showing how Real World OCaml is used in projects and interacting with new content in a productive and useful way.

About the Authors

Anil Madhavapeddy is Professor of Planetary Computing at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Pembroke College. He has a wide range of experience, having worked in industry (NetAPP, Citrix, Intel), academia (Cambridge, Imperial, UCLA), and open source (OCaml, OpenBSD, Xen, Docker). Joining Jane Street in 2003, Yaron Minsky is to thank for introducing the company to OCaml. Founding the firm’s quantitative research group, he managed the transition of all its core infrastructure to OCaml, ultimately making it the world’s largest industrial user of OCaml. Minsky has also been an avid lecturer, blogger, and writer on the topic of programming, publishing articles in Communications of the ACM and the Journal of Functional Programming.

Summing up their thoughts on the Open Access upgrade, Anil and Yaron say: “Open Access has been shown to encourage the usage of a particular work, resulting in increased citations and public engagement. We are excited for what this move will mean when it comes to greater accessibility for users of OCaml worldwide: making it easy to use excerpts from our book in new projects, encouraging new learners, and supporting teachers in their work.”