The list of .NET languages is getting longer. Just ahead of releasing the next version of Visual Studio, Microsoft development tool vice president Soma Somasegar announced that his division will work with Microsoft Research to integrate the F# language into Visual Studio. F# is a project that looks to exploit functional programming techniques.
Microsoft development tool vice president Soma Somasegar announced that his division will work with Microsoft Research to integrate the F# language into Visual Studio.
F# is a long-percolating project that looks to exploit functional programming techniques that have some years been largely the province of academic research.
The classic version of functional programming may have been the original Lisp - where languages are concerned there is never total agreement. Such functional languages as ML and Haskell are based on Lambda calculus, dealing with expressions in the forms of math equations. Microsoft Research has been applying such techniques working with the .NET CLR for a number of years.
In the wake of highly publicized support for Python and Ruby language versions on the CLR, this pledge of support for F# is not unsurprising.
Somasegar said the benefits F# could bring to .NET programmers are a mathematical programming style and a strong type system.
‘’Another motivation is to continue to invest in making the .NET Framework a great choice in academia,'’ he said.
In announcing F# as a first-class citizen of .NET, Somasegar said Microsoft will work to see that F# runs well on the CLR, embraces object-oriented programming, and ‘’has features to ensure a smooth integration with the .NET Framework.'’
There were a number of telling comments accompanying Somasegar’s blog post. Commenter Steve Thompson suggested the syntax of F# would be an impediment to typical programmers trying to learn functional concepts. Former Microsoft hand James Plamondon said moves like this augur the day when ‘’programmers would chose the best language to write each piece of a coding task, just as a carpenter uses a hammer for one task and a saw for another.'’ - Jack Vaughan
Somasegar F#blog entry - MSDN