Inside F#

Brian's thoughts on F# and .NET

Yet another release of F# (August 2010 CTP)

Posted by Brian on August 18, 2010

In case you missed it, today we announced a new release of F#.  If you have VS2010 already, then you probably don’t need this release; this release pretty much just puts the same bits in new CTP packaging.  Briefly:

  • The previous CTP only had the .NET 2.0 versions of the compiler and msbuild tools
  • The previous CTP only installed into the free VS2008 Integrated Shell

Whereas:

  • The new CTP also has the .NET 4.0 versions of the compiler and msbuild tools
  • The new CTP can also install into the free VS2010 Integrated Shell

The MSI tries to be smart – if you have .NET 2.0, it installs those tools; if you have .NET 4.0, it installs those tools; if you have any VS2008, it installs the VS2008 support; if you have the VS2010 Shell, it installs that support.  As always, if you have a prior F# CTP install, uninstall it first, before installing the new CTP.

So basically the new release is of interest to you mostly if you fall into one of these buckets:

  • You have been using the ‘free’ F#-in-VS2008-Shell, and you want to upgrade to ‘free’ 2010 tools so you can take advantage of the pretty new WPF environment and zoomable editor and multi-monitor support and use .NET 4.0 and other “2010-specific stuff”.  The CTP is (and always has been) the moral equivalent of “Visual F# Express”.
  • You have been looking for a .NET 4.0 version of the F# compiler and tools to install on your build server/continuous-integration server, and you didn’t want to install all of Visual Studio on that machine just to get the F# compiler.
  • You’re using F# on Mono/Linux/Mac (grab the ZIP rather than the MSI). (You can already use F# with success on other platforms; I imagine the story here will continue to improve markedly in the coming months, as stuff like this starts to bear fruit.)

So that’s it.  Again, if you have VS2010 Pro or above, you already have all the bits you need on your dev box.  This release just makes those bits more freely available and more conveniently packaged for those without a full VS2010 install.

(There’s a white lie in the previous sentence; there is one new thing in the new CTP, which is an FSharp.Core.dll for Windows Phone 7, but I hope to discuss that in more depth in a future blog post.  I haven’t done _any_ phone programming myself yet, though I am keen to do it, when I find some free time.  If you just can’t wait, then perhaps see Don’s blog for some starter links here.)

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