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Functional Programming Fundamentals

Mark Thomas

I've been interested in functional programming for a while, and after spending the last 12 months or so working with Scala I can really see a difference in the way I think about solving problems. So, when an email dropped in to my inbox a few weeks ago about an 'Introduction to F#' presentation by Phillip Telford at work, I jumped at the chance to attend. Phillip is a Architectus Oryzus at Trayport working on trading solutions for financial markets, before that he worked at Microsoft Research. He talked us through the basics of F# and showed off the language in a basic Twitter application and then a simulator of the Mastermind board game. Both of the applications were extremely concise and elegant, I was certainly impressed and enjoyed making the comparison with Scala.

There has been a steady flow of F# adoption in the financial services sector, I know of a couple of banks who are using F# in production applications. That combined with Phillip's presentation has been enough to get me interested in learning more. Being a Microsoft technology, I started my search for more information at MSDN and found an absolute gem in Microsofts Deep Dive lecture series.

Dr. Erik Meijer has an online lecture series covering Functional Programming Fundamentals. I'm up to Chapter 5 now and am really enjoying it. It does cover a few things I know but the focus on pure functional development is giving me a really valuable perspective. That, and I'm getting a good opportunity to learn Haskell which I'm really starting to like.

For any budding F# developer, or someone who wants to know more about functional programming I highly recommend Fundamentals of Functional Programming.