Michael de la Maza, Talbott Crowell and I are all very excited about finally getting our F# User Group off the ground.  However, as F# groups are currently few and far between, we are very interested in finding out what attendees would want from such a group.


Where and When?

In terms of broad time frame, we are looking at having our first meeting in April.  We currently have a few options open in terms of which day of the month.  If you are interested in attending, head on over to our doodle poll and tell us which days would be best for you.

The group will be held at the new Microsoft NERD center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  A big thanks to Chris Bowen for helping us find such an exciting place to hold our meetings.  I know that I’m not the only one hoping that some of the Microsoft research NERDs will have time to come down to our meetings. 

Online Content?

We are planning on recording each meeting and putting the videos up online.  We don’t have the hosting solution for this firmly pinned down yet,  however there are a large number of different options available.  Our criteria are support for video of at least two hours in length and high resolution.  Ideally, we would like to use a Microsoft-based solution.

Types of Meetings?

While most .NET user groups seem to be primarily presentation based, they are often much more broadly scoped and targeted at an audience with deeper topical knowledge.  For these reasons we are considering a number of different formats for the group. 

  1. F# Boot Camp - The focus of this type of session would be getting developers who were new to F# and/or FP started. This might include a small presentation, some group activity work and, finally, an open discussion forum.
  2. Presentations - We are working on bringing in F# experts to present on related topics.  This will be via both physical presence and remote conferencing.
  3. Competitions - I love competitive coding and I think that there’s no better way to get people excited about a topic.  These competitions would likely be web-based and open to all F# users.

Our goal is provide interesting content for both those new to F# as well as those with some experience.  As F# is a fairly new language, it’s reasonable to assume that news attendees will have a low level of previous exposure to the language.  Due to this, our current thinking is that it would generally be best to start with the basics and work our way up to more advanced topics over time.