Tradition demands that I write down some subjective thoughts on how my old friend F# is doing. So here we go again (for the 4th year running).
All I can really say is this; wow, what a year.
- The F# foundation has matured into a great ambassador for the language, its a great collection of tutorial, guide videos and more. Also, there is a new shiny logo! The foundation is now taking steps towards becoming a non profit organization.
- Microsoft is open sourcing the CLR and all the core libraries and working on ports of the CLR to OSX and Linux! The new management at Microsoft seems to take open source seriously, so I have pretty high hopes that this initiative will materialize into something useful. I think this is huge for F# developers, pretty soon it will be a perfectly viable option to deploy (with confidence) your F# assemblies to Linux servers.
- Xamarin is doing an awesome job promoting F#, it is now a supported language on all Xamarin platforms. Mono also keeps getting better, I personally wouldn’t hesitate putting a F#/Mono server side application in production. As I’ve stated many times before on this blog, I think this is an absolutely crucial enabler for taking F# to ‘the next level’. I couldn’t be happier with the progress, F# development in Xamarin Studio is now a viable option.
- Some very good F# libraries and frameworks are being written. I am especially happy about the activity in the web apps space.
- The F# community is great, very friendly and accommodating. It is simply fantastic to see Don Syme (and others) actively encourage code contributions, getting involved with features for the next F# release and promote user groups.
- The metrics are hockey-sticking; user groups, the ranking pages tiobe and redmonk
Finally, there is a current trend where people are starting to look seriously at (strongly) typed FP languages. Haskell is enjoying substantially increased interest, and people I’ve talked to are coming to Haskell from everything from dynamic languages (Ruby), more traditional OO languages (Java, C#) and other not-so-strongly-typed FP languages (Lisp). F# is perfectly placed to reap the benefits of this trend IMHO. With the runtime/deployment issues being solved on multiple fronts, I am certain that people who give F# a proper look will enjoy and appreciate the power and beauty of the language.
Some great F# talks and blogs you need to see;