- F# has a new "light" syntax option (put #light at the top of the file). With #light, various end-of-line constructs like semicolons or the "in" at the end of a "let" are no longer necessary. Also, groups of statements are delimited by indentation (Python-style). I like the convenience of this option, of course, but my snobbish side feels offended by how it makes ML-style functional code feel even more like the plain imperative kind. So, points for style, maintainability, conciseness, shallower learning curve, etc., but negative points for reducing the tangy esoteric/baroque flavor.
- Syme has made a draft chapter of his upcoming F# book available for anyone to read. I recommend it as a supplement or even a replacement to the tutorial information floating around the Web. It's a kinder, gentler approach to learning F#. After reading it, I realized that I could simplify parts of my code by using object methods where possible rather than always calling functions from modules (functions in which the first parameter was the object!).
- There are a couple F#-related video clips that were on Channel 9. One is an interview, and the other is a flashy demo. If you already know all about F#, neither of these clips will provide new information. I repeatedly paused the demo clip so I could examine the code on screen. In the interview, Syme is quite diplomatic about the possible real-world uses of F#. While F# may shine at data crunching, it also is a general-purpose language that shares many features with C#.
- I went to TIOBE after reading that Python had overtaken C#, and I found that, although F# isn't in the top 20 or even 50, it has a specific mention in the "October Newsflash - brought to you by Paul Jansen" section. To quote:
Another remarkable language is F#. The first official beta of this Microsoft programming language has been released 3 months ago. This variant of C# with many functional aspects is already at position 56 of the TIOBE index. James Huddlestone (Apress) and Robert Pickering draw my attention to F# via e-mail. Later Ralf Herbrich from the X-box team of Microsoft wrote to me "After working with F# for the last 9 months, I firmly believe that F# has the potential to be the scientific computing language of the future." [...] In summary, I think both Lua and F# have a great future.
Monday, October 16, 2006
update on F#
I haven't used F# much recently, but I've tried to keep myself apprised of it. Don Syme's blog seems like the de-facto news site; many of the following links go there. Let the bullet shooting commence.