Microsoft has added a new language to the stable that will be supported by its Visual Studio development platform.
The newest member of the family is F#, the hybrid functional/object-oriented language developed by Microsoft Research. (Ars Technica has an almost layperson-understandable definition of functional programming languages, if you want more detail.)
Exactly when Microsoft will add F# support to Visual Studio is not clear. All that Microsoft Developer Division Chief Soma Somasegar said on his blog last week that Microsoft is productizing F# for a variety of reasons. A growing number of the concepts underlying functional languages are making their way into other programming languages. In addition, functional and dynamic programming languages increasingly are finding their ways onto computer-science agendas at many universities, as Somasegar noted:
"Many computer science departments around the world teach functional programming languages today. We believe that through F# and languages such as IronPython and IronRuby we can help offer students and educators choices beyond the current mainstream and enable the use of these languages across the curriculum. This helps educators have the option to use Visual Studio as a consistent tool set from course to course."
Heck, even Google -- at least Dominic Cooney, a software engineer there in the Kirkland offices -- is using F# to program.
F# is one of a family of "Sharp" languages under development by Microsoft and others. Wonder if any of the other Sharps will get Visual Studio support.