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Expert F# (Expert's Voice in .NET) Hardcover – December 9, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1590598504 ISBN-10: 1590598504 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Antonio Cisternino is a professor in the Computer Science Department of the University of Pisa. His primary research is on scientific computing, meta-programming and domain-specific languages on virtual-machine-based execution environments. He has been active in the .NET community since 2001 and developed VSLab, a Microsoft Visual Studio add-in to support MATLAB-like programming in F# and Visual Studio. He is also author of annotated C#, an extension of C#, and Robotics4.NET, a framework for programming robots with Microsoft .NET. Cisternino holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pisa.

Adam Granicz is the chief executive officer of IntelliFactory, the leading provider of F# training, development and consulting services, and technologies that enable rapid functional, reactive web development. He has over six years of experience applying F# in commercial projects, and works on WebSharper, IntelliFactory's web development platform that offers unrivaled productivity, a uniform programming model based on F#, and the fastest way to develop robust, client-based rich Internet applications. Adam is an active F# evangelist, a regular author in online F# media and speaker at development conferences and industry partners, and serves on the steering committee of the Commercial Users of Functional Programming (CUFP) Workshop, representing the F# segment.

strongDon Syme/strong is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and the main designer of F#. Since joining Microsoft Research in 1998, he has been a seminal contributor to a wide variety of leading-edge projects, including generics in C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime, F# itself, F# asynchronous programming and units of measure in F#. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in 1999.
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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in .NET
  • Hardcover: 609 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (December 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598504
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,789,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eric R. Newhuis on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Good

- Practical.
- High example density.
- Broad coverage of a lot of practical F# topics.
- Good depth on all the important practical stuff.
- I felt like I learned a lot, not only about F#, but about some cool C# features too.
- I felt like I'd be a lot more productive as a programmer if I could master the language.

The (not so) Bad

- Structurally, I initially got lost with some of the more complex examples. And it was straining to page back and forth re-reading things until I grasped the concepts. The density of information in the text sometimes makes it less valuable as a teaching aid and more valuable as a reference.

The (not so) Ugly

- I could not get one of the async examples to actually compile. I had to search the web for some hints to add declarations that seem to have been omitted from either the example code or F# implementation itself. In short, the example code, my development environment, F# itself, of some combination thereof was missing what appears to be an extension method for WebRequest.GetResponseAsync. I had to code it myself. But once I did, it worked! (This might not be a criticism of the book.)
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Feniello on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is the perfect companion to bring along on your adventure into the world of F#! I had the pleasure of proofreading Expert F# several months ago and so, while it just became available at Amazon today, I've already spent many happy hours with it.

F# is a wonderfully expressive and practical language and, at the same time, very elegant. This book will help the reader to apply this newfound power and to appreciate how even the most obscure features all seem to "hang together" so beautifully.

The first half of the book teaches the language with an excellent example-driven approach; making it fun and useful from the start. Separate chapters cover each supported programming paradigm: functional, imperative, object-oriented and language-oriented; along with chapters on solid engineering techniques such as encapsulation and packaging, and working well with other .NET code.

The second half of the book applies the language to various technologies (WinForms, web, database, ...) and to various very interesting domains including lexing and parsing, asynchronous and concurrent programming (a particularly strong suit). My absolute favorites were the symbolic differentiation and propositional logic samples in chapter 12 - these left me in a state of awe! Also, the second half covers more engineering concerns such as testing and debugging, interop and library design.

Throughout the book are sprinkled many little nuggets of wisdom from the authors; especially helpful to those who (like me) are struggling to rationalize experience in OO and imperative programming with the functional mindset.

The book contains an enormous amount of information; an essentially complete coverage of the language. However, it simply can't cover everything.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Andrei Formiga on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When a new programming language arrives and manages to make an impact, books about it will certainly appear. However, most often the books will be geared to beginners, to people that is either not very experienced in programming or in the programming paradigms embodied by the language. For a experienced programmer, these books stop right when the fun would begin: the advanced stuff, the corners, the details are left out.

Expert F#, as suggested by its title, is not like this: it is aimed at more experienced programmers. The book will not teach you, for instance, what is functional programming or hammer to your head the best ways to use lists, an ubiquitous data structure in functional languages. But it explains how the things work in F#, so that programmers already familiar with other functional languages will have no trouble picking it up. F# also has object-oriented capabilities, which are explained in a chapter, without however going much deep into OO concepts; the book is about the language, not the paradigms.

And it does this well. Roughly half of the book is about the language itself, the other half are examples of applications and how to use some important libraries. As I was already familiar with OCaml and Haskell, I mostly skimmed through chapters 1 to 4, reading more closely starting with chapters 5 (generic types) and 6 (how objects fit into F#). From chapter 7 (encapsulating and packaging your code) on, the book starts to get really interesting; the next one is about common techniques, and chapter 9 is the best in the first part, explaining language-oriented programming, an area where functional languages really shine.

There are mandatory chapters about Windows Forms (11), Web programming (14) using .
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Johnson on January 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book doesn't just teach you how to program in F#. I teaches you how to be a better .NET programmer. It discusses generics, how to write "generic algorithms," all forms of sequences (and how to elegantly program with them...immensely practical), workflows, LINQ, parsing (I loved this chapter), concurrent programming, Windows Forms...you get the idea.

However, this book is *packed* with information. So, if you do get this book, and have difficulty...just try to write some code and re-read sections after you do some experimentation. You can't learn F# by reading about it. It is too elegant and subtle for that...you need to actually do it. So, read this book in your computer chair, not your easy chair, and TRY STUFF OUT...TAKE YOUR TIME ...there is a lot of information on each page. You'll be a better programmer in ANY language after going through this book.
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