I am very, very happy to cross post this wonderful news from the Visual F# Team blog!  Free Express F# Tools!!!!!!!!! (for Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web)

Congratulations to the Visual F# team who have done so much hard work (of all kinds - dev, test and PM) to get this release together.

The F# team is excited to announce that F# Tools for Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web is now available!

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web (available here) is a free development environment that programmers can use to build projects such as ASP.NET applications and Windows Azure cloud services. This F# Tools release adds in F# 3.0 components, such as the F# 3.0 compiler, F# Interactive, IDE support, and new F# features such as type providers and query expressions.

Note: if you already have Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher, you don’t need to install this—you have everything you need as part of your existing installation.

Quick Start: Installing F# Tools for Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

Launch the Web Platform Installer from here and click Install.

Or, if you already have Web Platform Installer on your machine, you can also launch it and search for “F#”:

installer

Add that component, and click Install. Any dependencies you need, such as Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web, will be automatically detected and installed. The online registration grants a free product key, and you’ll be using F# with Visual Studio in no time.

It’s that easy!

Data at Your Fingertips with F# 3.0

Now it is easier than ever to access many important data sources, using a set of built-in type providers for SQL databases and web data protocols. These providers make it simpler, more uniform, and more intuitive to access data sources. Plus, it’s an extensible mechanism, so you can even write your own type provider.

For instance, using the built-in OData type provider, you can query the Netflix OData catalog:

query the Netflix OData catalog

 

You get IntelliSense as soon as you put in the URL for the Netflix catalog and start writing the query.

Here’s a more advanced query that pulls out the 100 worst movies from Netflix’s catalog:

a more advanced query that pulls out the 100 worst movies from Netflix’s catalog

 

We want everyone to be able to experience the productivity and fun of using F# for development.  When F# was released in Visual Studio 2010, we published a free CTP version of the F# compiler and tooling for the free Visual Studio Shell. Long-time F# enthusiasts may recall the days of F# as a Microsoft Research project and downloading the F# compiler from the MSR website.

Now with the launch of Visual Studio 2012, we’re happy to make it even easier to get started using a free version of F#. :)

Learn More

There are myriad resources for getting started with and learning more about F#.  Here’s a sampling:

 

Enjoy!