I just noticed that Mathieu Verbaere, Ran Ettinger and Oege de Moor at the University of Oxford have been using F# to implement JunGL, a Scripting Language for Refactoring (paper submitted to ICSE’06). It is really fantastic to see a top-rate research team getting on with using F# for interesting projects.
I also notice that their Centre for MetaComputation has been awarded a grant recently, and that my old friend Tom Melham is one of the investigators. I had the pleasure of working with Tom at Intel Strategic CAD Laboratories in Portland in 1997, and on the HOL system prior to that. In both cases the functional programming languages were a key foundation for their work and my experiences there formed a major part of the background to F#. For example, the Forte tools and the reFLect language (now designed and implemented by Jim Grundy) really show how a functional language can be a major enabling tool for productivity increases in specialized domains such as formal verification, and Jim tells me that reFLect is now used in many parts of Intel. Forte and F# and very different, but they are both situated and pragmatic functional programming languages. By “situated” I mean that the design of the language is strongly affected by external considerations – Forte by its context of hardware verification, and F# by the context of .NET programming. That is, the designers have been willing to enhance the core constructs of functional programming in ways appropriate to the context.
Time to get back to preparing the release of F# 1.1.4!!