Microsoft’s F# object-oriented functional programming language is designed for data-oriented programming, as well as parallel programming and algorithmic development. In an interview, F# developer and Microsoft researcher Don Syme notes that one primary difference between F# and other programming languages such as C#, C++, and Visual Basic is that F# is a functional-first language and, in many ways, a data-first programming language.
“The construction of the language is carefully designed to facilitate data-oriented problem-solving and manipulation in a functional programming way,” he says. “One of the key aspects of functional programming is to reduce the bug rate for doing routine manipulations over data structures.”
A key characteristic of a functional language is that data is represented in a way that is immutable, which means that users have descriptions of the data. F# reduces the time to deployment for analytical software components, Syme says. He notes that F# also is very good at parallel programming because it uses a functional, stateless approach. F# also can be used for server-side Web programming. “The Visual F# tools aren’t particularly aimed at client-side Web programming, but there are other F# tools provided by third-party companies,” Syme notes.
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