Wednesday, January 17, 2007

F# - An Introduction

F # - Combining the efficiency, scripting, strong typing and productivity of ML with the stability, libraries, cross-language working and tools of .NET.

F# is a programming language that provides the much sought-after combination of type safety, performance and scripting, with all the advantages of running on a high-quality, well-supported modern runtime system. F# gives you a combination of

* interactive scripting like Python,
* the foundations for an interactive data visualization environment like MATLAB,
* the strong type inference and safety of ML,
* a cross-compiling compatible core shared with the popular OCaml language,
* a performance profile like that of C#,
* easy access to the entire range of powerful .NET libraries and database tools,
* a foundational simplicity with similar roots to Scheme,
* the option of a top-rate Visual Studio integration,
* the experience of a first-class team of language researchers with a track record of delivering high-quality implementations,
* the speed of native code execution on the concurrent, portable, and distributed .NET Framework.

The only language to provide a combination like this is F# (pronounced FSharp) - a scripted/functional/imperative/object-oriented programming language that is a fantastic basis for many practical scientific, engineering and web-based programming tasks.

F# is a pragmatically-oriented variant of ML that shares a core language with OCaml. F# programs run on top of the .NET Framework. Unlike other scripting languages it executes at or near the speed of C# and C++, making use of the performance that comes through strong typing. Unlike many statically-typed languages it also supports many dynamic language techniques, such as property discovery and reflection where needed. F# includes extensions for working across languages and for object-oriented programming, and it works seamlessly with other .NET programming languages and tools.

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