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In this section of our guide to computer programming languages, we will be highlighting the Koka programming language, developed by Microsoft Research.

Designed and developed by Microsoft researchers, the language was first released on April 13, 2012, and is still under active development. As of this writing, the most recent version came out on January 25, 2024, less than two weeks ago.

While Koka stands on its own, it draws inspiration from languages like Haskell, ML, and Scala. Both Koka and Haskell emphasize purity and strong typing, but Koka's effect system provides a more disciplined approach to handling effects.

A strongly typed, functional-style language, the design strategy of Koka revolves around combining expressive power with rigorous type systems, making it an intriguing choice for both researchers and practitioners.

Koka's features include effect types and handlers, first-class functions, a polymorphic type system, algebraic data types, and composable language features.

Koka introduces effect types and handlers, allowing developers to track the effects of every function in its type. This distinction between pure and effectful computations ensures robust semantics and ease of reasoning for both programmers and compilers.

Embracing first-class functions, Koka enables higher-order programming and functional composition, and its type system supports polymorphism, which allows for flexible and reusable code. Algebraic data types provide for defining structured data, and Koka's core features are designed to be as general as possible, avoiding the need for special extensions.

The unique features of Koka make it well-suited for various applications, such as advanced control abstractions, systems programming, and functional-style programming. The language's blend of functional programming, effect tracking, and efficient compilation make it a good choice for developers exploring new paradigms or building performance-critical systems. As a comparatively new programming language, additional innovation might be expected in the future.



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