Microsoft's F# Language: Number 12 With a Bullet

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-03-10 Print this article Print

De Icaza said he also believes the F# Foundation has increased the exposure and progression of the language, noting that it is “fantastic” that Microsoft open-sourced F#. The F# Foundation is “a very active group,” he said. “It is so nice to see F# get this kind of attention from the community. People are sending pull requests, people having discussions about the language, the future, the libraries, improvements to the tooling... So it is a fantastic community on the one hand. On the other one, I've always been fascinated by functional programming.”

De Icaza professed a fascination with F#. “What both LISP and F# have in common is that when you're writing in those languages, you tend to refactor so much more,” he said. “I don't know what it is in the language, but you always create these little, tiny functions. With C# and maybe Python and Ruby, you cannot just roll the functions. So you tend to make your functions more feature-full. While in F# you tend to see a pattern and you take it out” and repeat that process time after time, he said.

“So you make all of these little individual functions,” de Icaza added. “I don't know what it is or what happens in my brain, but when you're writing LISP or F#, you tend to do this thing where you extract all these idioms outside. So there's that element. Also, code is of course shorter. It's nice to write less code, to type less. And personally I'm fascinated with the pattern matching--the fact that F# helps you write better code by removing null from your vocabulary. It doesn't let you do it. We're so used to using null everywhere and F# just doesn't let you."

De Icaza, who hails from a family of scientists – his father is a physicist and his mother a biologist, said F# is a great language for scientists. “It's a language very well suited to scientific uses,” he said. “It turns out that finance people love it because you get less bugs. F# is another language that I love. And ever since the beginning of .NET, this idea that you could have multiple languages on the same VM was something that really spoke to me. Partly because of the work I had done on Linux with multiple language integration with the same APIs. So .NET was that thing for me. We are very happy about F#. And we're going to keep adding interesting languages that people like.”

In January, Microsoft released an update of its Visual F# tools. Visual F# Tools 3.1.1 is a small, quick-deploying package that can be used to update current editions of Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft’s F# team wrote in a blog post. The package updated the compiler and runtime, along with the IDE tooling. The F# language edition supported is F# 3.1. The update contained a small number of bug fixes compared to the baseline in Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft said.

Last November, Microsoft announced a code drop of the F# 3.1 compiler, library and tests. In a blog post on the drop, Syme said, “The Visual F# Tools team at Microsoft contributes to F# through enterprise-ready tooling in Visual Studio 2013. We recommend the Visual F# Tools as the best, most productive and highly stable route for functional-first programming in the Windows ecosystem.”


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel