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by Paul McJones last modified 2021-06-15 20:47

A functional programming language designed by James H. Morris, Jr., Eric Schmidt, and Philip Wadler.


Paul McJones, editor - -
Software Preservation Group
Computer History Museum



The goal of this project is to preserve and present primary and secondary source materials (including specifications, source code, manuals, and papers discussing design and implementation) from Poplar, a functional programming language designed at Xerox PARC in the late 1970s. The editor greatly appreciates comments, suggestions, and donations of additional materials.




Thanks to James H. Morris, Jr., the primary designer of Poplar, for giving me permission to post the manual, source code, and paper here.


Source code

  • James H. Morris and Eric Schmidt. Poplar source code. Written in Mesa, circa 1977-1978. This version uses call-by-value. PDF
  • James H. Morris, Eric Schmidt, and Philip Wadler. Poplar source code. Written in Mesa, circa 1977-1979. This version uses lazy evaluation (call-by-need), as described in [Morris, Schmidt, and Wadler 1980]. PDF

Poplar programs

  • Morris et al. Poplar examples.,, ..., PDF



  • Jim Morris and Eric Schmidt. Poplar. Draft language manual, 4 October 1978, 38 pages. PDF



  • James H. Morris, Eric Schmidt, and Philip Wadler. Experience with an applicative string processing language. In Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT symposium on Principles of programming languages (POPL '80). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 32–46. ACM Digital Library / PDF
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