Announcing Visual F# Tools 3.1.1, with support for Desktop and Web express

Today we are excited to announce the availability of the Visual F# Tools 3.1.1, our first update release to Visual F#.  You can download the installer package here.

Visual F# Tools 3.1.1 is a small, quick-deploying package that can be used to update current editions of Visual Studio 2013.  The package will update the compiler and runtime, along with the IDE tooling.  The F# language edition supported is F# 3.1.  The update contains a small number of bug fixes compared to the baseline in Visual Studio 2013.

When we first announced the feature set for F# 3.1 and the corresponding Visual F# Tools, we made a reference to “internal engineering work to allow more frequent updates,” but did not include many details.  Today’s release is the first fruits of that internal engineering work, and we hope you enjoy the results!

Desktop and Web Express

Many developers will be happy to note that, beginning with this release, Visual F# Tools will be usable as an addition to the Desktop Express edition of Visual Studio.  This was a long-standing request that we are pleased to finally be able to fulfill.  The free Desktop Express edition of Visual Studio enables the creation of desktop apps and supports Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Win32.

You can also install Visual F# Tools 3.1.1 as an addition to the free Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web.  Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web provides the core tools to create compelling, innovative web applications and services, and the Visual F# Tools let you bring the power of F# to the web programming domain.

Standalone Compiler and Runtime Install

When installing the package on a clean system without any edition of Visual Studio installed, the compiler, runtime, and F# Interactive will be deployed without IDE tooling.  This can be done to obtain the Microsoft implementation of F# 3.1 available for use in build server and virtual machine scenarios, or when using other editing clients such as Emacs and Xamarin Studio.

Installation can be automated by running the following lines from an administrator Powershell session:

$webclient = New-Object Net.WebClient
$url = 'http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/0/A/30A5D6DD-5B5C-4E06-B331-A88AA0B53150/FSharp_Bundle.exe'
$webclient.DownloadFile($url, "$pwd\FSharp_Bundle.exe")
.\FSharp_Bundle.exe /install /quiet

Going Forward

Looking ahead to the future, our team now has the capability to ship Visual F# update releases multiple times per year, getting bug fixes and new features into developers’ hands more quickly than ever before.  The Visual F# Tools will continue to be included with major Visual Studio releases, but now we have the ability to deliver updates to the Visual F# Tools in between.

Requirements and Supported Platforms

Visual F# Tools 3.1.1 is supported on Windows 7 and above, and will operate on top of Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate, Premium, Professional, Desktop Express, and Web Express.  If installing on a system without Visual Studio, the compiler and runtime will be deployed without IDE tooling.  In this case, additional frameworks normally installed with Visual Studio will need to be installed separately, in particular MSBuild 12.0, .NET Framework 4.5.1, and the Windows 7 and 8.1 SDKs.

More Information

To find out more about F# generally, please visit fsharp.org.  To find out more about the Visual F# Tools, visit fsharp.net.