MLton aims to produce fast executables, and to encourage rapid prototyping and modular programming by eliminating performance penalties often associated with the use of high-level language features.
MLton development began in 1997, and continues with a worldwide community of developers and users, who have helped to port MLton to a number of platforms. As a whole-program compiler Mlton is notable amongst SML environments such as Standard ML of New Jersey (SML/NJ) for lacking an interactive top level, common among most SML implementations . MLton also includes several libraries in addition to the SML Basis Library as well as features to aid in porting code from SML/NJ, one of the more popular SML implementations. MLton also aims to make programming in the large more feasible through the use of the MLBasis system  simplifying modularity and managing of namespaces in larger pieces of code, MLton also has support for SML/NJs compilation manager. MLton was a participating organization in the 2013 Google Summer of Code.