Nice short intro!
I have deployed a couple of F# apps deployed to production in a large enterprise! Hopefully many more are to follow.
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For those wanting to interface their smart phones with their cars OpenXC is an interesting open source platform http://openxcplatform.com/ .
The Bluetooth RFComm interface on the OpenXC dongle can be used from either Android or Windows Phone 8. The OpenXC dongle outputs JSON (or optionally protobuf) so it is easy to understand and use the messages that the car is sending.
I think PEX and Code Digger are excellent technologies but I would also like to highlight the F# REPL (read-eval-print-loop) called F# Interactive.
When coding with F# its very natural to highlight some code in the editor and just evaluate it interactively.
Specific cases, corner conditions can be easily checked right there as you write the code (you still have to write the tests manually).
There is definitely a feeling of being close to your code and data.
Often times large snippets of code are developed interactively using the REPL and then placed in the main program. This (and the fact F# does not have nulls) means F# programs have much lower error rates (also see http://www.simontylercousins.net/journal/2013/3/7/why-bugs-dont-like-f.html)
Nice to see good energy around F# these days.
The concept of Type Providers is truly a major innovation in language / IDE design.
Even though I have been using F# for a while, I am still learning quite a bit from tryfsharp.org, especially about the applications of F# in the various domains.
Firstly, a very entertaining and engaging discussion. Nice work Charles!
Secondly, as someone who has done a fair bit of Smalltalk, C#, Java and F#, I and can contribute from my experience.
Smalltalk certainly has the cleanest syntax that I have seen. It is a pleasure to work in that language (unfortunately it was all but wiped out by Java). It think it is the most stress free language that I can think of.
Now I work mostly work in F# and I believe that I am better off than when I was working in either Smalltalk (or C# or Java).
F# (or OCaml) has strong *type inference* so most of the time it does not *feel* that you are working in a strongly typed language. If you make a change, the types automatically propagate through. If there is a type conflict, the error gets flagged and you can fix it.
While nothing is perfect, F# strikes a good balance between the extremes of Smalltalk and Haskell.
I think instead of a 'language' standard, we should have a VM standard for browsers. If we have a VM standard then we could use any language we want. There will be constraints that all languages will have to adhere to, for interoperability but it's doable. Note both the CLR and JVM have evolved to support a large variety of languages so its technically feasible.
Wonderful as always!
Aptly, I just wrote an HTML parser using F# "Active Patterns". The parser/serializer is less than 140 lines of code! (I am claiming it to be the world's smallest HMTL parser until proven wrong).
Please see: http://fshtml.codeplex.com/
Yes, I see that monads are at work (now that C++ has functional capabilities).
Anyone interested in a good monad tutorial can check this out http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Why-is-a-Monad-Like-a-Writing-Desk.
Scala has delimited contintuations (shift / reset keywords) where you can bracket some state that is relevant for your computation and do something with it (save/restore/ship to another location, etc). A stateful web framework could leverage that well, although I don't know of any that does.