OCaml Office Hours?

The talk on Batteries at Houston Functional Programmers last night by @UnixJunkie was really fantastic, and people got a lot out of it. And it was great to see faces (or at least names :wink:) from around here. One thing that surprised me a bit was how many questions there were about OCaml coding in general (rather than specifically Batteries).

This suggests to me that doing a virtual “OCaml Office Hours” could be successful and really valuable for the community. Just an opportunity for people–especially novices–to come with their questions about OCaml, programming problems they’ve run into, etc. I’ll be happy to organize and promote it, but what we’d need is 1-3 people to act as experts and answer people’s questions. (I definitely don’t know enough to serve in this role.)

Because of time zone differences, if there’s interest in organizing something similar in Europe or elsewhere, I could help out with that as well. I’m in Houston, TX and would want to organize the event for a weeknight, probably ~7-9pm (U.S. Central time).

Thoughts? Anybody willing to join as an expert?


This is a great idea. I ran across this practice in the Kubernetes community, and it was a great way to learn:

I am not an expert by any objective measure, but I know enough that I could be of help to beginner and intermediate learners. I could commit to being present once a month or so. I’m in US Eastern time.


In addition to mailing lists and discuss, there is also an IRC channel where people can interact with some ocaml experts in a more “interactive” manner (irc://irc.freenode.net/#ocaml)

Sounds like there’s enough interest to give this a shot and see what the response is. @shonfeder – I’ll message you and we can figure out a time and date in Feb that’s good for us. Thanks for volunteering. I probably should have put “expert” in quotes. We don’t need experts per se for something like this – just enough collective experience that we’re able to answer people’s questions and so it’s productive and useful. And fun!


Thanks for initiating this, @cjr ! I think more spaces for connection and camaraderie can only help our community in general, and it’s especially welcome in these trying times.

I look forward to the first session :slight_smile:


I’d like to volunteer as an expert if you have room. I’m not a PL PhD kind of expert, but I have worked with OCaml professionally for about 12 years now.


I’m a working man’s programmer as well. All of my “expertise” is gained from years of programming in OCaml. Happy to help people or just make banter around OCaml.


And there is XMPP: xmpp:ocaml@conference.orbitalfox.eu?join

Save the date: Thur, Feb 11 at 7pm U.S. Central. @shonfeder, @mbacarella, @rgrinberg, and I will be hosting “OCaml Cafe,” an opportunity to get answers to your OCaml questions and, more generally, hang out with the community. I will post additional details within the next few days.


Some suggestions:

  • maybe we could collect some questions and/or topics to discuss beforehand
  • I would propose to use the OCaml discord channel as the video conference hosting platform because it is already quite popular among OCaml enthusiasts and discord’s video conferencing is quite good
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  1. Sure, if people want to send me questions/topics ahead of time, please do. But it’s not necessary. Our goal is to let the interests of those attending drive the discussion.

  2. It’ll be hosted on Zoom, as that’s what my university has with all of the enterprisey features - and what I already know.