Why the Sharp languages still matter

It's been a while since Microsoft has talked publicly about the # (Sharp) programming languages under development by its research unit. But the silence doesn't mean nothing's been happening.

It's been a while since Microsoft has talked publicly about the # (Sharp) programming languages under development by its research unit. But the silence doesn't mean nothing's been happening.

Elements of the Sharps -- F#, Spec#, X# (now known as C Omega), all of which build on top of the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) -- increasingly are finding their way into commercial programming languages.

And the Sharps may be influencing other products, like databases, in the not-too-distant future, according to Erik Meijer, a Microsoft SQL Server architect I interviewed recently for my Redmond Developer News story on the Sharp family. Meijer, one of the developers of the Haskell programming language, said:

"I really hope that there will be much more influence of the Sharp languages to other areas, in particular databases. There's a lot of very interesting theory about using monads or monoids as the basis for query languages instead of relational algebra [the basis for SQL]. Query comprehensions in LINQ are just the first step -- the tip of the iceberg. I'll be lifting a tip of the curtain at the upcoming InfoQ conference in London in March."

Anyone got any interesting Sharp stories of their own to share?