The recent announcement by Somasegar at Microsoft that F# is being “productized” has now started to be picked up by various news agencies. Being productized means some future version of the F# language and its Visual Studio integration will be officially supported by Microsoft.
Somasegar says F# will be appealing to developers in the domains of “financial, scientific and technical computing.” He says that’s because of the correspondence you can achieve between F# and the mathematics that those developers work with in their domains. I say, also because of the speedy execution performance you can get from F#. Strong static typing in F# gives the compiler many more opportunities to be much smarter about optimization. Speed matters when you’re working with massive data sets and data streams. Dynamic languages will always struggle in comparison.
F# also has great potential as a teaching language in Universities, and Somasegar says that’s a target. So, I really hope Microsoft puts out a free Visual Studio Express edition for F# to make sure the barriers to getting started with F# on Windows are as low as they can be. F# can also run on mono on *nix, so really there’s no excuse to not give it a try whatever platform your University uses.
F# is particularly nice move for Microsoft as a company, because it’s such a strong story of home-grown innovation. I’d agree with Somasegar’s opinion that “[F#] is one of the best things that has happened at Microsoft ever since we created Microsoft Research over 15 years ago.”
p.s. Does anyone know how to search for “f#” on google news without finding faux-swear words? It’s f#@&!ng annoying.