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A gentle introduction to F# and functional programming.
on February 22, 2010
All the F# books out there are puzzle pieces in the F# jigsaw puzzle; hence they all have a unique role to play in the milieu.
This book is the most tutorial, and it covers the topic pretty thoroughly (even monads and continuations are touched on).
This book is also the most ecumenical (as of this writing). That is to say, it is not Microsoft-centric: it also caters to those coming from the Unix world and those using Mono.
Even if you don't consider yourself a beginner, you're likely to benefit from reading this book cover to cover (and for me that includes reading the legalese, the index, and the advertisements: everything!).
Sometimes Robert will draw attention to what might seem like a trivial point; but he's actually citing a representative point, and trying to instill in the reader an intuitive understanding of the design philosophy behind F#.
This book even covers quotations, compilation, interpreters, parsers, and the gestalt of language oriented programming (wherein domain specific languages are crafted as a way to control complexity). These important topics might seem pretty intense for a beginner's book, but they are presented in the same tutorial fashion that basic concepts are presented with. This is arguably the most accessible presentation of F#, and is based on one of the first books to come out.
Sometimes people try to do too much too fast, without having learned the basics first. That can be a recipe for frustration that might result in failing to stay the course. This book was often just what the (proverbial) doctor ordered for me, during such times of frustration. I'm very grateful for this book, and for Robert's helpfulness.
There are code samples in this book that are real gems of great value. It will take me years to fully digest all the great information this book has to offer.