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Microsoft sharpens Visual Studio with functions

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How do you get the advantages of scripting languages, strong typing, a simple efficient testing regime and a object-oriented development environment? According to Microsoft you plug into one of its esoteric research projects - coming to a Visual Studio near you some time soon.

The project is a functional programming language called 'F Sharp'(F#) currently under development at Microsoft Research and, last week, Visual Studio development chief S. 'Soma' Somasegar revealed plans to include it in a future version of Visual Studio.

F# is derived from Objective CAML, developed at the French research institution INRIA. It aims to deliver the features of functional programming in an object-oriented environment based on Microsoft's .NET. Functional programming is usually associated with the academic end of software development and is based on mathematical disciplines - primarily lambda calculus.

Somasegar sees the combination of functional programming and Visual Studio as especially appealing to developers in areas such as financial, scientific and technical computing. He give no delivery date for a full product release - but the F# project is already well advanced and it seems likely that it will be sooner rather than later. ®

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