Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Microsoft to Host Language Symposium

The Lang.Net conference will be Microsoft's second major event about the future of programming.

MONTREAL—Microsoft will hold a symposium on the future of programming languages on the Microsoft platform and other platforms early next year.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant will hold another of its Lang.Net conferences on its campus at the end of January, said Jim Hugunin, a leading architect on the Microsoft DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) team. Hugunin announced the upcoming event during his talk at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications conference here Oct. 22.

Microsoft last held a Lang.Net Symposium in July 2006, when the company invited a list of industry luminaries to speak on projects they were working on in the realm of programming languages.

Meanwhile, Hugunin said he came to Montreal from Seattle via Cambridge, England, where he spoke with Microsoft researcher Don Syme about the company's plans to productize the F# (pronounced "F sharp") language. Syme is a lead on F#.

Click here to read more about Microsoft's growing support for dynamic languages.

In a blog post on F#, S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, wrote, "One of the really promising current projects from MSR [Microsoft Research] is the F# programming language, spearheaded by Don Syme. F# stems from the functional programming tradition (hence the 'F') and has strong roots in the ML [metalanguage] family of languages, though also draws from C#, LINQ [Language Integrated Query] and Haskell. F# is designed from the outset to be a first-class citizen on .Net. This means that F# runs on the CLR [Common Language Runtime], embraces object-oriented programming, and has features to ensure a smooth integration with the .Net Framework."

Added Somasegar: "We will be partnering with Don Syme and others in Microsoft Research to fully integrate the F# language into Visual Studio and continue innovating and evolving F#. In my mind, F# is another first-class programming language on the CLR."

Indeed, Somasegar said Microsoft's interest in F# is motivated by several factors, explaining that "the somewhat mathematical slant of functional programming just seems naturally appealing to professionals whose primary domain is described with mathematical notation—domains such as financial, scientific and technical computing. On top of the syntactic appeal, the strong type system yields the sort of guarantees which are often crucial in these domains, and enables a superb tooling experience through Visual Studio."


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