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F# 1.9.4 Available Now with Important Updates

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Microsoft released an new version of its F# compiler, version 1.9.4.  A version more polished and simplified.

Don Syme, a researcher with Microsoft Research, announced the details of the release on his web site.  The goal for this release is to make F# simpler and more consistent.   Don indicates some of the changes in this release:

Some of the highlights of the language streamlining we've done in this release include

  • More consistent, symmetric operator overloading
  • Use named and optional arguments in conjunction with COM methods (gives simpler use of Excel, Word APIs etc.)
  • Additional nullness checking
  • Completing the object model (sealed, abstract class attributes and many other details have been addressed)
  • Performance optimizations in the F# core library
  • Improvements to the F# Interactive Window in Visual Studio
  • Over 100 bug fixes , many based on user feedback

Although these are highlights, a very detailed list is available from Don as well which outlines all the bug fixes and enhancements to the language and the libraries.   The goal of F# has been to be a mainstream language on the CLR and the team has been making strides:

Addressing items like these go a long way to transitioning the language into a stabilized, productization mode. Our overall goals, as always, are to integrate the succinctness, efficiency, expressivity of typed functional programming into the foundational set of tools that people use as part of .NET programming, while ensuring that language is simple-to-use and has great tool support.

The community is a great resource for finding out what is going on with F# and functional programming.  There are many great web sites dedicated or focusing on exemplifying the efforts of the F# language.  Downloading and installing F# is a start but seeing who is using it and how they are using it may get you motivated to try it out.

Don also points out some recommended links of his own from the F# team members:

More information about the Microsoft F# language can be found at the Microsoft Research web site and the F# Compiler can also be downloaded there.  Don Syme's blog is also a great source of F# language advancements.

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