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F#: an Open Source Functional-First Programming Language

Use Fsharp with Visual Studio Code
Written by Martins D. Okoi

F# is a strongly-typed, functional Programming Language designed to fasten the process of solving complex problems using uncomplicated and maintainable code. It is a cross-platform Programming Language that can generate GPU code and JavaScript.

To business personnel, the upside of F# is its capacity to hasten software deployment in the modern enterprise. It was designed by Dom Syme and researchers at Microsoft in 2005 and has grown to be supported by a variety of applications over time.

To quote the developers,

F# is a first-class language on a number of platforms including Mac and Linux (with tool support in Xamarin Studio, MonoDevelop, Emacs and others) and Windows (with Visual Studio, Xamarin Studio and Emacs) as well as on mobile devices and on the web using HTML5.

Feature Highlights of F#

  • Cross-Platform and Free – F# runs smoothly on LinuxAndroidMac OS, iOS, Windows, GPUs, and browsers. It is open sourced under an OSI-approved license so it is free to use for both commercial and personal projects.
  • Large Active CommunityF# is implemented in a broad range of applications and has established both an active open coding community and top tier companies, so be sure to find support with any project you are working on from professionals.
  • InteroperabilityF#’s ability to interact and exchange data with all .NET languages and libraries coupled with its data-rich analytical services make it an attractive language for large businesses.
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How to Use F# on Linux Systems

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There are many approaches you can take to use F# on Linux. The two most used are:

Option 1: Use the F# Packages in Linux

Get the latest stable version of F#‘s Debian/Ubuntu package by following these instructions.

Then install packages, mono-complete and fsharp.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install mono-complete fsharp

To use the most recent stable version of the F# on Fedora and RHEL/CentOS/ package, it is highly recommended that you follow these instructions.

Then install packages, mono-complete and fsharp.

$ sudo yum update
$ sudo yum install mono-complete fsharp

Option 2: Install Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a cross-platform open-source text editor developed by Microsoft that comes with built-in support for F#, TypeScript, JavaScript and Node.js (among other languages) right out of the box.

First install Visual Studio Code.

Then Press Ctrl+P and install the Ionide package for VS Code using:

$ ext install Ionide-fsharp

If you run into any issues or if you need installation instructions for other Linux distros, see here.

Are you are interested in working with F# or contributing to the project? Follow the links below:

And while you’re at it, what’s your take on F#? The Comments section is below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

  • Julia Lengyel

    Isn’t f# based on ocaml, modified for Microsoft and mono. Than why not use just ocaml?

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