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Working with F Sharp

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Working with F Sharp

F# is a new language that ships with Visual Studio 2010. It is based on the functional OCaml language. F# is largely a functional language, though it has traces of object orientation and imperative languages too. Writing safe concurrent programs has become a concern recently, as multi-core CPUs have become widespread. Functional language helps support concurrency by encouraging the use of immutable data structures that can be passed between threads and machines without worrying about thread safety or concurrency.

Working with F Sharp

F# is a new language that ships with Visual Studio 2010. It is based on the functional OCaml language. F# is largely a functional language, though it has traces of object orientation and imperative languages too. Writing safe concurrent programs has become a concern recently, as multi-core CPUs have become widespread. Functional language helps support concurrency by encouraging the use of immutable data structures that can be passed between threads and machines without worrying about thread safety or concurrency.

I'm going to show you a brief demo of the FSharpEditor here inside Visual Studio. I have already opened a project that called FSharpEditor. I'm going to double-click on this Program.fs file. You might guess that FS stands for FSharp. That means that this file contains F# code. So I'll double-click, and this is the editor. I'm going to use the printfn function to print information out to the console. I'm also going to use this #light compiler flag, which makes it a little bit easier to write the F# code.

This means I don't have to end the line of code with the colon, colon syntax, which is the normal way of doing that. On the other hand, it means that indentation takes more significance. The way you indent your code is more important when used the #light switch. So I'm going to use the open keyword to resolve namespaces, so that I can do things like a System.Console.WriteLine. This means I could leave off this system prefix if necessary. It's kind of like the import or using statements in Visual Basic and C#.

I'm going to print out of the console the word Hello, or I can use the System.Console.WriteLine mechanism for doing that. That's familiar. Again, if you're comfortable with .NET classes, this code should look familiar to you. Next, I am going to declare a variable. So the let keyword allows me to that in F#. There are some differences. Variables are immutable in F#, which means that once you declare the variable and you load the initial data into it, you can't change it anymore. But that also makes it the thread-safe.

So on line 21 what I am doing is I'm declaring a variable called age. I'm doing a mathematical addition there: 34 + 2. Notice that I don't have to put anything special on the end of the line here because of that #light compiler flag I have up there. Then once this variable is declared, I can use it. Now if I try to do something like age = 80, I'll get a blue squiggle. I'm getting that kind of useless message here that says the expression should have a type of 'unit', but it has a type of 'bool.' Basically, it's saying you can't assign another value to this.

If I try to use the let keyword, I'll get a different squiggle. This time it's telling me I have already declared a variable called age, and you need to come up with a new name. So let me comment this out, and we'll continue. So next, I write out, "Enter your full name." And then I'm going to use the Console.ReadLine to read the contents and store them in this variable. Then I'm going to print them out. Then I'm going to use this %s as a token, and this %d as a token to say, take the full name here and place it within the string where this token is.

Then also do the same thing with age and place it here. All right, does that make sense? Let me show you one another feature that a lot of people really like about F# is that functions are first-class citizens. You can declare them in line and then pass them around as arguments to elsewhere in your code. For instance, you can create a function and then pass that in as an argument to another function. So what I'm doing on line 37 is I am declaring a function called calculateSalesTax.

And then I'm saying that this function expects to have two incoming parameters: sale and tax. Then on the right side of the Equal sign, I'm writing the code that's part of that function. I'm saying, multiply sales by tax. Now, I can come down here and run that function that I just declared, by using its name and then passing these two arguments in. Notice that I'm not separating those with commas; I'm just passing them in. That's a common metaphor in F#--not using commas here. There is an alternative syntax down here on line 42, where I say let calculateTotalSale, and then I can use what's called a tuple in order to set off items.

By using the parentheses here, I'm saying I have an argument that called sale, an argument called commission, and then again, just like before, I write the code for the function on the other side of Equal sign. Then I call it the same as before, but now because I declared it like this, I can pass the arguments in with a comma separating them. Want to see this run? I do. I'm also going to put a break point right here by pressing F9. I'll go up to the Debug menu and choose Start Debugging. Go ahead and say Yes to save these changes.

You can see I have put a few items to the console. I'll enter my name. I do the string concatenation, and then I press Enter, and you can see I just hit my break point back here. I have a section on working with breakpoints and debugging, but right now, I'm just going to step through my code by clicking on this Step button. Notice what happened. I declared this function up on line 37. I'm running line 39, but you can see it just stepped back, and it's showing me I'm running this code up here: sale * tax, which should be a value of four, if I hover over that, and this one has a value of five.

Then I'm going to press just Step Into a couple more times. And then I'll hover over the total, and you'll see that that has a value of 20. So you see that these in-line functions work exactly the same as if they were regular functions. Learning a new language is a great way to appreciate your current programming language. I think F# is a great candidate to look at for your next language. What do you think about giving it a go?

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This video is part of

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Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 30538 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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