Monday, February 08, 2010 2:28 PM
F# Discoveries This Week 02/08/2010
Back again with another F# community roundup. There’s been a ton of great content this week, almost too much. To try to combat this I’ve attempted to sort posts roughly in terms of how interesting I found them. All were worth the read though.
Also, I’ll be speaking this Wednesday on F# at the Boston .NET User Group. If you find yourself there, be sure to say hello!
Dr. Don Syme is a principal researcher in MSR Cambridge. He has a rich history in programming language research, design, and implementation (C# generics being one of his most recognized implementations), and is the principle creator of F#.
Perhaps this post should have gone along with the one about macros and how Lisp is a “programmable programming language.” The common tension in any language or runtime design is how much to build in as primitives and how much to implement as libraries within the language or atop the runtime.
Last November at PDC 2009 in Los Angeles I gave a talk on F# for Parallel and Asynchronous Programming. The talk begins by covering basic F# concepts, and then focuses on four challenging issues related to concurrency and the tools F# brings for addressing these - immutability, async workflows, and agents.
There is an observable trend in Python programmers that results in a reasonable section of them moving to functional programming languages. This trend is encouraged by the Python language, and has a couple of temporal considerations.
Much like C# 4.0 has the ability to do dynamic lookup, F# also has the same capability, although in a different capacity. The language has support for a dynamic lookup get operator ( ? ) and set operator ( ?<- ), but note that I said support and not actual implementation. The actual implementation is up to you and how you want to use it.
In the past couple of Monads posts, we’ve talked briefly about the State and Reader Monads and their potential uses and misuses. Before this series completes, I have a few more to cover including the Writer, Continuation and eventually Observable monad. Today, we’ll get started looking at the Writer Monad and what it can do for us.
Not all recursive expressions represent recursive behavior. In fact, iteration can be expressed recursively. One trick when considering the process that an expression represents is to think of functions as reducing to values rather than returning them. In a pure functional style (precisely because of referential transparency) you can do analysis by successive substitution.
This post describes the F# implementation of the <insert data structure here> from Chris Okasaki’s “Purely functional data structures”.
John Conway's Game of Life is a famous example of a simple cellular automaton that produces remarkably diverse results. The game can be implemented in only 32 lines of F# including real-time visualization using Windows Presentation Foundation as follows:
Last time I covered IObservables and we created a useful ObservableSource class. Today I’ll cover the next technology piece of the app: reading RSS feeds. I’ll discuss the design considerations regarding how to poll feed for updates and publish feed items as IObservables, and walk through one implementation.
A few of my colleagues were discussing F# today and when/where/how it is/isn’t better than C#. I haven’t ever really used F# beyond a very, very brief look at the syntax, so tonight I decided to see what it was all about. As a little project, I decided to make Pong with XNA Game Studio using F# with Visual Studio 2010.
If you aren’t excited about new ways to tackle the concurrency problem, or new approaches to handling generic and mathematical problems, and if the thought of breaking out the shiny new lexer and parser don’t give you a tingle, then maybe F# isn’t actually marketed at you at all.
Running languages on .NET is ultra-powerful. Using managed COBOL (from Micro Focus), it is possible to use F# code to work with COBOL code. Imagine a Cloud based F# map reduce system consuming legacy COBOL - yes, that really is on the horizon.
The new version 0.27 of “FAKE – F# Make” comes with new syntactic sugar for build targets and build dependencies. Don’t be afraid the old version is still supported – all scripts should still work with the new version.
Recently I ran into a situation where I needed to handle some events in F# in a special way. In this particular case I wanted to be able to disable and re-enable my handler based on changes in the program. Essentially the C# equivalent of continually adding and removing the handlers.
Another bit of spiking, a rather tardy follow up from raw GTK#, starting from the C# example at the Mono Project site, but incorporating the earlier example, so as to build in a clean application exit, for one thing.
In this post I'm going to show a small example of taking a picture using a Webcam with Windows Image Adquisition 1.0 . This API seems to have changed in Vista and above, the following code only applies to XP.
The article walks through the design and implementation of a multithreaded program that uses logic programming to create an unbeatable computer opponent and Windows Presentation Foundation to provide a graphical user interface in only 115 lines of elegant F# code!
OCatenac passes along an interview with Don Syme, chief designer of F#, which is Microsoft Research's offering for functional programming on the .Net platform. Like Scala, which we discussed last fall, F# aims at being an optimal blend of functional and object-oriented languages.