Monday, 26 January 2009

Free article: Introduction to F#

We have updated the freely-available first article from The F#.NET Journal. The article now includes a brief history of F#, enumerates many of the advantages of F# and cites some existing industrial applications of F# before describing how you can get the latest version of F# from Microsoft's new F# home page and how you can get developing F# for free using Visual Studio 2008 Shell.

Now that we are approaching 50 articles in the database, totalling almost 130,000 words, we have also decided to release another one of our existing articles for free. Please comment here and let us know which of our articles you would most like to see!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Book review: F# for Scientists

James O'Brien has kindly written a review of our book F# for Scientists:

"Excellent from first to last. Whilst the extensive science-oriented examples will benefit F#'s current market - efficient scientific and financial computing - the clarity of writing will benefit all programmers approaching F# for the first time.

Newcomers will not find another dry description of the programming language but rather an exploration of the ideas and principles of functional programming that will benefit their technique in whatever language they use. This is most brilliantly illustrated by the visualization chapter and by the sections dealing with XML processing in which functional techniques are used to produce solutions far more succinct, yet still more expressive, than their imperative or object-oriented cousins.

The material is challenging - it is intended to be - but persevering will bring far greater rewards than ploughing through the latest O'Reilly cookbook. Learning functional programming will improve the skills of every programmer, and so will reading this book."

And don't forget about our more recent book F# for Technical Computing.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Simulating smoke in real-time using fluid dynamics

The F#.NET Journal just published an article about fluid dynamics:

"In scientific computing, the task of simulating fluid flow accurately by solving the Navier-Stokes equation is notoriously difficult. However, it is possible to compute numerical approximations quickly enough that fluids dynamics may be simulated in real time. This article describes a simple fluid dynamics simulator that uses Microsoft's Task Parallel Library (TPL) to parallelize the computationally intensive operations and uses Windows Presentation Foundation to visualize the results in real time..."

To read this article and more, subscribe to The F#.NET Journal today!

Friday, 16 January 2009

Forthcoming book: Programming F#

Microsoft's F# team member Chris Smith has announced that he has been writing a new book Programming F# for O'Reilly that is scheduled for publication later this year.

This book joins "F# in a Nutshell" by Ted Neward and Amanda Laucher and "Real World Functional Programming with examples in F# and C#" by Tomas Petricek as the other hotly-anticipated books covering F# that are due to be published in 2009.

Microsoft's new F# home page lists the three existing F# books, F# for Scientists by Jon Harrop, Foundations of F# by Robert Pickering and Expert F# by Don Syme, on their Learn F# page.

Monday, 12 January 2009

F# for Visualization

A new release of our F# for Visualization product is now available to beta subscribers. Version introduces two new features:

  • 2D scatter plots.
  • Multiple plots: functions and data on the same graph.

Demos of these new features will be made available on our site over the next few days.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Another commercial product written entirely in F#: The .NET PDF Toolkit

Coherent Graphics recently announced the first release of their Coherent PDF Toolkit for .NET with prices starting at only £495. This toolkit provides a wide range of professional, robust tools to modify PDF documents.

Interestingly, the 40,000-line code base is derived from their existing CamlPDF toolkit that was written in OCaml and now cross-compiles as both OCaml and F#. The existence of a project this size cross compiling with minimal changes really demonstrates just how much the OCaml and F# languages have in common.

This the third commercial product written entirely in F#, after our own F# for Visualization and F# for Numerics products.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Solving the Traveling Salesman problem using Simulated Annealing

The F#.NET Journal just published an article about combinatorial optimization:

"Finding the global minima of an arbitrary function is a significantly more challenging problem than local function minimization and has many practical applications from the simulation of molecules to the design of printed circuit board layouts. Several different global function minimization algorithms exist. This article describes a simple and elegant solution to the traveling salesman problem that uses the simulated annealing approach to global function minimization. The results are visualized in real time using Windows Presentation Foundation. In particular, we show how the purely functional use of data structures facilitates an efficient lock-free way to obtain recent results for visualization..."

To read this article and more, subscribe to The F#.NET Journal today!