When comparing PureScript vs Standard ML, the Slant community recommends PureScript for most people. In the question“What are the best languages for learning functional programming?” PureScript is ranked 13th while Standard ML is ranked 14th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Has Typeclasses and RankNTypes
Pro Type safety
Compiling should be your first unit test. A tight type system (static and hopefully strong) will catch many logic errors that are often difficult to spot through debugging. In languages like PureScript, if it compiles, it often runs properly.
Pro Modules can be compiled to CommonJS
Pro High performance FFI code
Pro Has row polymorphism and extensible effects
Pro Awesome web frameworks
Halogen (VDOM, similar to ELM)
And hit these up with Signals, Isolated/(Managed?) Components, powerful functions and FFI
Pro Powerful module system
The module system that Standard ML uses gives the programmer the power to define custom data types whose internal implementation is invisible to other programmers using the module.
Pro Implementing laziness is trivial
Since mutability is only confined to a special type of reference cells, implementing laziness in SML can be done in only 20 lines of code.
Pro Enforces distinction between data and computations
Since it uses strict evaluation, it enforces distinction between data and computations which in turn enables you to use induction on algebraic data types as a reasoning principle.
Pro Great exception system
Secret messages can be sent across distant parts of a program without possibility of being intercepted by unintended recipients in the middle.
Con Lots of dependencies needed to get started
Purescript is written in Haskell, but meant to be used with Node.js. As a result, to get started , users must install ghc, cabal, node.js, grunt, and bower. Purescript also has its own compiler, and different semantics form Haskell, and so even after installing, there's still some overhead to getting productive with Purescript.
Con Restrictive FFI
Con Lack of good IDE/tooling support.
Con Slow compilation
On large project, for example Halogen
Con Not very popular outside academia
SML is mostly used in academia and doesn't have many uses in industry. While it's a good language for learning functional programming concepts, the language itself won't be very useful.