.NET Rocks!

Jon Harrop Makes Us F#

Episode #266 Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jon Harrop introduces Carl and Richard to F#, a functional language that runs under the CLR. F# performs like C#, but being a functional language, has interactive scripting (similar to Python) but is rooted in the strong type inference and safety that other functional languages like ML focus on. Being in the CLR means you can build certain parts of your application in F# and then reference them from other languages, the same way VB.NET and C# interoperate.


Jon Harrop

Jon Harrop studied physics and chemistry at the University of Cambridge with an emphasis on computational science. His PhD work was written in a mix of Mathematica and C++. Although he was taught the functional programming language Standard ML in his first undergrad year, Mathematica was his first serious use of a functional programming language. After he left academia, Jon discovered that the OCaml programming language combines the benefits of Mathematica's brevity and expressive power with C++'s performance and static testing. This led him to write "OCaml for Scientists" and found Flying Frog Consultancy Ltd. at the beginning of 2005 to publish the book. Interest in OCaml was so strong that he made it his hallmark and consulted for several companies, most notably Wolfram Research, Microsoft Research and XenSource. OCaml continues to be his main revenue stream, with sales of all of our OCaml-related products having increased four fold over the past year. Meanwhile, Don Syme has been creating a new programming language for .NET that draws a lot upon the merits of OCaml. Consequently, F# can be said to combine the brevity of Python with the performance of C#. Microsoft commissioned them to write "F# for Scientists" earlier this year and that book should hit the shelves early next year.


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