Book Review: F# for Technical Computing
F# has become more prominent over the last few years and with it an insurgence of literature pertaining to the subject. For those of us who started using F# when it was a little known project out of MSR Cambridge their were few names that we quickly became familiar with - Jon Harrop being one of them. An F# book by Jon brings with it excitement and promise: his work is well known for being clear and concise, and the examples he uses to help the reader familiarise themselves with the application of F# are highly stimulating.
The title of the book may imply that it is heavily centric on those who are looking to apply F# to some heavyweight domain, e.g. modelling mathematical problems. However, this is not the case. (Although the knowledge transferred from author to reader is enough to help you tackle such domains.) The book itself delivers a concise and elegant coverage of the F# language as well a number of important applications. For instance, Jon covers the common data structures one uses, he also introduces the reader to the strengths of using F# with Windows Presentation Foundation, coverage of parallel programming is also a feature of the book, amongst others. The great thing about Jon's work is that he uses rather novel examples to help the reader drive their understanding of a particular concept, e.g. using MPI to construct the Mandelbrot set.
Jon has delivered a book which is a pleasure to read and the narrative used throughout is highly informative yet concise. The author is well respected in the F# community and 'F# for Technical Computing' is a good example why so many people stop and listen when Jon has something to say on the subject. The book can be read cover to cover; alternatively, it can be used as an effective reference. It is one of only two books on F# which I find myself consulting regularly - an excellent resource for new or experienced F# programmers. Highly recommended.
I will also post a review of the OCaml Journal in the coming weeks as well.