Starting up in F#

The first time I heard of this relatively-new .NET language, I thought the name represented something you’d utter when you stepped on a splinter when running around barefoot.

If you do a lot of development in .NET, F# is probably something that’s worth your while to take a look at. It is a functional-programming language, more akin to Prolog or OCaml. Frankly, even after buying a book on it and tinkering around with the online documentation, I’m finding it a bit obtuse to slide into. So I’m going to try to develop here a gentle tutorial to get you started — and to bring you around the bases so that you learn how to put it to real practical use.

What is F#?  The best place to learn this is probably on it’s creator’s website at Microsoft Research: http://research.microsoft.com/fsharp/about.aspx

Downloading F#

Let’s start by downloading F# to your host computer (let’s just call your computer your “box”). As of this writing (June 8th) it is here: http://research.microsoft.com/fsharp/release.aspx

Click on “Download F# 1.9.4.17.msi” (or whatever the current version may be). When it’s finished downloading, double-click on the file to run the installer.

Creating your first program

Until I complete a tutorial, here is an excellent article by Chris Smith to get you started: F# in 20 Minutes – Part I

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About James W Hurst

a professional software designer since the beginning days of the desktop cptr and uC-controlled avionics, I today am focusing on C# and F# for building desktop and online applications under WPF, and Silverlight/ASP.NET along with the requisite HTML/CSS/JavaScript/Ajax for web applications. My database expertise is focused on Microsoft SQL Server and db4o, and my main area of interest is Artificial Intelligence and vision.
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