Book Review: F# for Technical Computing



F# has become more prominent over the last few years and with it an insurgence of literature pertaining to the subject. For those of us who started using F# when it was a little known project out of MSR Cambridge their were few names that we quickly became familiar with – Jon Harrop being one of them. An F# book by Jon brings with it excitement and promise: his work is well known for being clear and concise, and the examples he uses to help the reader familiarise themselves with the application of F# are highly stimulating.


The title of the book may imply that it is heavily centric on those who are looking to apply F# to some heavyweight domain, e.g. modelling mathematical problems. However, this is not the case. (Although the knowledge transferred from author to reader is enough to help you tackle such domains.) The book itself delivers a concise and elegant coverage of the F# language as well a number of important applications. For instance, Jon covers the common data structures one uses, he also introduces the reader to the strengths of using F# with Windows Presentation Foundation, coverage of parallel programming is also a feature of the book, amongst others. The great thing about Jon’s work is that he uses rather novel examples to help the reader drive their understanding of a particular concept, e.g. using MPI to construct the Mandelbrot set.


Jon has delivered a book which is a pleasure to read and the narrative used throughout is highly informative yet concise. The author is well respected in the F# community and ‘F# for Technical Computing‘ is a good example why so many people stop and listen when Jon has something to say on the subject. The book can be read cover to cover; alternatively, it can be used as an effective reference. It is one of only two books on F# which I find myself consulting regularly – an excellent resource for new or experienced F# programmers. Highly recommended.


Buy: F# for Technical Computing


I will also post a review of the OCaml Journal in the coming weeks as well.


If you have anything to suggest about the DSA Book then please read this…

Its been a while since I talked about the DSA book but to summarise its had over 20,000 (first, second) downloads which has largely provoked me into taking the whole thing a lot more seriously for the next edition which I expect will triple its content.

I don’t have any times at the moment because we are figuring out what we want to add to the book based on the current programming climate. So, if you have any suggestions then please let me know by emailing me via the contact page. Don’t hold back – what would be your dream book on data structures and algorithms look like? what would you expect it to cover? Does the language independent approach work for you?

Please let me know.



I’m sorry for the lack of posts…

Sorry folks for the lack of posts but ever since I’ve moved to Australia I seem to have had very little time to actually post something of any calibre.

At the moment I am actually working on some writing commitments I have so I will post about them when they appear online. In the meantime I’ve resurrected my Twitter account in a hope to micro-blog more in an effort to make up for my blog shortcomings as of late.

I can’t promise it will be pretty but you are more than welcome to follow my ramblings on Twitter.


One of the best tips for browsing msdn…

I like MSDN I really do but when you want to increase the font size the thing just breaks and looks awful. Recently I’ve found that switching to the loband version of a MSDN page is far better when increasing the font size so its more comfortable to read. Originally I found this suggestion posted by Jon Galloway here.

Definitely helps if you are staring at MSDN for the best part of the day.

A tool I just couldn’t dream of living without…

I always use more than one monitor whether I am at work or home. Personally I don’t feel that the support in Windows for more than one monitor is that bad, however I can’t ever see the day when I drop Ultramon and switch back to what Vista gives you. I have built a strong dependency upon this tool, its just awesome.

A few of the features I seem to frequently use are:

  • Transfer to other screen button (Ultramon decorates each new window with an additional few buttons, the other being stretch across all monitors)
  • The smart taskbar (stretches the taskbar across your screens, each taskbar only contains the applications relative to that window)

Definitely worth the $40 asking price. If you are using more than one monitor then you will love this, I was skeptical at first but now I’m a believer.

Shared Source CLI Google group launched

I’ve just created a Google group based on the SSCLI which you can view and join by going here –

It supersedes now defunct SSCLI newsgroups from the Microsoft and Yahoo servers which have had all but no activity in the last 2 or so years. If you have any interest whatsoever in the SSCLI then I encourage you to join.

Data Structures and Algorithms book flying out (again!)

The updated version of the Data Structures and Algorithms book that Luca and I wrote is flying out once more! We are really very happy to see how many people are downloading our book. In total (counting the previous release) the book has had nearly 16,000 downloads! Amazing.

If you haven’t already got a copy what are you waiting for?! Its free so you don’t have to reach into those empty pockets at this time of year.

Download the updated version of the Data Structures and Algorithms book here!


Enjoy. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.