F Sharp, OCaml Books and History of OCaml

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page is a short intro of F Sharp and OCaml books and their authors as of 2013.

this book just came out: [Real World OCaml: Functional programming for the masses Paperback By Yaron Minsky , Anil Madhavapeddy , Jason Hickey. At Buy at amazon ]

Yaron Minsky is famous for working at trading company Janestreet using OCaml. See: OCaml Use in Industry: Janestreet Talk by Yaron Minsky 📺

[The F# Survival Guide By John Puopolo et al. At http://web.archive.org/web/20110715231625/http://www.ctocorner.com/fsharp/book/default.aspx ]

A look at Amazon, there are quite a few books on F#/OCaml too.

[Expert F# 2.0 (Expert's Voice in F#) By Don Syme, Adam Granicz, Antonio Cisternino. Buy at amazon ]

Don Syme designed F#. He has a website with lots of news on F# at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/dsyme/ . Apparently, a lot is going on.

[Real World Functional Programming: With Examples in F# and C# By Tomas Petricek, Jon Skeet. Buy at amazon ]

Thomas Petricek is a master student specializing in programing models, and interned at Microsoft under Don Syme. His home page is http://tomasp.net/

Robert Pickering seems to have 10 years of coding experience according to his resume. His blog is at http://strangelights.com/blog/

[F# for Scientists By Jon Harrop. Buy at amazon ]

Jon Harrop is a well known personality online. I read the first chapter of his book in 2008, and it is one of the best online short intro to OCaml by far. In online programing forums, he often taunts other languages. He's known as a troll. (me too) He has a blog at http://fsharpnews.blogspot.com/ .

[Programming F#: A comprehensive guide for writing simple code to solve complex problems By Chris Smith. Buy at amazon ]

Chris Smith seems to have 8 years coding experience; At Microsoft. His blog is at blogs.msdn.com Chris Smith

There are apparently more F# book coming:

[Professional F# 1.0 By Ted Neward, Aaron Erickson, Talbott Crowell, Rick Minerich. Buy at amazon ]

Interestingly, many of them are also available in Kindle Edition. [see What is Kindle, iPad, Android, and All That Jazz??]

There's also Practical OCaml By Joshua B Smith, but on amazon it got very bad reviews.

Note that F# (F Sharp) and OCaml are basically the same language. F# is implemented on top of Microsoft's .NET, while OCaml is mostly from the unix world.

The History of OCaml

The history of OCaml is rather confusing. Basically, it all began as ML (programming language) in 1973. The “ML” stand for metalanguage. Originally designed for theorem proving related tasks. Thru the years, many variations came, including Standard ML, Caml, OCaml; Moscow ML, Alice, F#. F# and OCaml being the current 2 most popular and mostly compatible. Here's Wikipedia quote:

ML is a general-purpose functional programming language developed by Robin Milner and others in the late 1970s at the University of Edinburgh,[1] whose syntax is inspired by ISWIM. Historically, ML stands for metalanguage: it was conceived to develop proof tactics in the LCF theorem prover (whose language, pplambda, a combination of the first-order predicate calculus and the simply typed polymorphic lambda-calculus, had ML as its metalanguage). It is known for its use of the Hindley–Milner type inference algorithm, which can automatically infer the types of most expressions without requiring explicit type annotations.

See also, my own dabbling, OCaml Tutorial .