Microsoft's F# Language: No. 12 With a Bullet

Microsoft's F# programming language is rising up the charts in terms of popularity, just two slots out of the top 10 on the TIOBE index.

The popularity of Microsoft’s F# programming is on the rise, so much so that it is close to cracking the top 10 of the most popular programming languages according to the TIOBE Programming Community index.

On the latest TIOBE index ranking, for March 2014, F# ranked at No. 12 on the list of most popular languages. That means F# has jumped 57 places over the last year. In March of 2013, F# was ranked 69 on the index.

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses and third-party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. The TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

Visual F# is a strongly typed, functional-first programming language for writing simple code to solve complex problems using Visual Studio and the .NET Framework. F# is designed to reduce the time-to-deployment and complexity of software components such as calculation engines and data-rich analytical services in the modern enterprise.

According to the F# Software Foundation, from the business perspective, “the primary role of F# is to reduce the time to deployment for analytical software components in the modern enterprise. Its interoperability with all .NET languages and libraries and its ability to tackle the complexity of components such as calculation engines and data-rich analytical services offer a compelling story for businesses.”

F# is a first-class language on a number of platforms including Mac and Linux, with tool support in Xamarin Studio, MonoDevelop, Emacs and others. Of course it is also a first-class language on Windows with Visual Studio, Xamarin Studio and Emacs, as well as on mobile devices and on the Web using HTML5.

Last year at its Xamarin Evolve conference, Xamarin announced support for the F# language as part of the Xamarin tools for iOS and Android app programming. In a blog post on that announcement, Don Syme, a principal researcher at Microsoft and creator of F#, said, “The announcement from Xamarin means you can now create iOS and Android applications using 100 percent F# code, or alternatively use the C#-F# pattern where front-end logic is in C# and some or all application components are in F#... Somewhat surprisingly, the announcement from Xamarin means F# now has one of the broadest cross-platform development stories amongst all functional-first languages.”

Moreover, in an interview on Microsoft’s Channel 9, Miguel de Icaza, co-founder and CTO of Xamarin, said he likes F# and attributes its popularity to “a lot of people that are looking at F# for building better code and programs with fewer errors.”