Visual Studio offers a variety of choice for developers to use the most effective languages for building their applications and services.  One of the languages that Visual Studio supports is F#, an open-source, cross-platform and functional-first programming language that excels at data-rich programming tasks and integrates seamlessly with .NET and C#.  Today, F# is being used in a wide range of analytical and data-oriented applications across the industry, and is a great choice for any of your organization's functional-first programming needs.

In April we announced that in partnership with Microsoft Open Technologies and the F# Software Foundation, we are enabling open source contributions to the F# Compiler and Core Library.  Microsoft and other contributors are now actively working on the next round of advancements to the F# language.

Today, I am happy to announce that we are taking another great step for F# open source, by enabling open source contributions to the Visual F# IDE Tools that ship as part of Visual Studio.

We will continue our development on these tools, including through direct contributions to the open source repository, while also welcoming contributions from the F# community and partners.  Where contributions are accepted, we expect to ship these as part of the upcoming Visual Studio "14" release.  We will work across the F# language, core library, core tooling and Visual F# IDE tools to evolve the developer experience and provide strong integration with other tools and functionality in the .NET developer ecosystem.

You can find out more about this open source release in the Visual F# Tools blog.

The F# Software Foundation and the F# Ecosystem

The last two years has seen a rapid expansion in the tools and libraries ecosystem around the F# language.

Since 2012, the F# Software Foundation has provided broad industry support for multiple stakeholders to advance the F# language and ecosystem. Through the FSSF, the F# ecosystem has become a rich, diverse community of users and contributors who are building and sharing F#-related libraries and tools. F# contributors include individuals and enterprises who are using the language on a daily basis.

Since 2013, the F# Software Foundation and partners have made cross-platform F# a productive reality. F# is now available on Windows, Linux and OSX and Xamarin now provide tooling for Android and iOS.

Visual Studio offers a highly productive development environment for F# and integration with C#, .NET and the rest of the Visual Studio developer experience.  In addition to these tools, other professional tooling for F# include Xamarin (for mobile development), QuantAlea (for GPU computation), and Intellifactory (for browser app development). 

F# users are also benefiting from libraries and tools such as the Visual F# Power Tools, the F# Compiler Services, FSharp.Data, Deedle and a host of community tools, libraries and type providers. F#'s innovative Type Providers feature has enabled interoperation with systems such as R, making many statistics packages accessible as part of the F# ecosystem.  And on top of these, F#'s seamless interop with .NET has provided F# developers with access to the more than 10,000 packages available on NuGet.

If you are an F# user today, I invite you to contribute to the future of the language, libraries and tools through these open source projects and communities.

Summary

I'm excited to be taking the next step with F# open source today, and the opportunity to collaborate even more closely with the F# ecosystem on the Visual Studio tools for F#.

Namaste!