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Product details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (25 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933988924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933988924
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description

About the Author

Tomas Petricek

discovered functional programming as a graduate student at

Charles University in Prague. He has been a Microsoft C# MVP since 2004 and

is one of the most active members in the F# community. In addition to his work

with F#, he has been using C# 3.0 in a functional way since the early previews in

2005. He interned with the F# team at Microsoft Research, and he has developed

a client/server web framework for F# called F# WebTools. His articles on functional

programming in .NET and various other topics can be found at his web site

tomasp.net.


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Roche on 13 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are not many technical programming books that could also be decribed as page-turners but this is definitely one of them: everything about it is perfection. Real-world Functional Programming is exceptionally well-written and well backed-up by a wealth of on-line supporting material; the author, Tomas Petricek, himself is readily accessible online and very much a leading contributor to the most popular functional programming fora.
This is best described as a functional programming course rather than a reference book and it is structured accordingly; the four parts: "Learning to think functionally", "Fundamental functional techniques", "Advanced F# programming techniques" and "Applied functional programming" provide a very thorough basis for becoming a functional programming professional. I think this book is mainly aimed at people taking their first tentative steps into the functional programming world - probably from an imperative language like C#. The first part is a gentle but thorough exploration of the functional programming paradigm and how it differs (immutability, compositionality) from imperative languages. Functional language concepts are the ideal solution to a number of programming tasks and we see how many functional concepts are finding their way increasingly into imperative languages (LINQ, Lambdas in C# for example).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Marivoet on 29 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As it states in his "About this book", "This is not a quick guide to F# programming", this should probably not the first book on F# to read. But this book is perfect for a C# programmer who wants to make a move to F#. It lets you gradually think in the functional way of doing programming with many F# and comparable C# example code. Only downside (but for that I cannot give this book a star less): if you want to try the F# examples you have to be aware of the way F# handles whitespace. I also purchased Programming F# where this topic is well explained.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Stuart Bury on 15 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
Having struggled to understand the new F# concepts (e.g. discriminated unions, the pipe operator, pattern matching) in the past, I have found this book to be invaluable. The author's C#-based approach (that is, explaining the confusing F# features in terms of how they would look in C#) meant that I had very little difficulty getting to grips with it. I can say with conviction that this is the most useful F# reference I have yet found, either online or offline. If you're familiar with VB.NET or C#, and want to try F#, get this book. Anyone with a .NET background should have no problem following along.

Incidentally, when I first discovered F#, I thought "what's the point? Functional languages are for maths professors and nobody else, and it's not even properly object-oriented". I was wrong, it's actually a very powerful language. When will VB.NET support discriminated unions; and deconstructing anonymous tuples returned from a function call? Probably never.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PW on 11 Oct 2010
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This book is superb for introducing functional programming and doing so in a way that helps imperative programmers grasp the (many) functional concepts they need to know. Also an excellent F# reference. Looks of good, practical examples.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
a pragmatic approach to F#, especially for C# programmers 4 April 2010
By Andre M. Van Meulebrouck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A hallmark of this book is a very pragmatic, Rosetta stone approach to F#.

Since F# lives in .Net, and .Net is inherently object-oriented; it makes sense to understand something of the mapping that takes place behind the scenes when F# code is mapped into the .Net world.

Many of the interesting new features introduced into C# are actually hand-me-downs from FP (functional programming). This includes generics, LINQ, anonymous methods, lambdas, type inference, etc.. Since many programmers need to use C# in the work-a-day world, it makes sense to understand the functional elements of C# by seeing them in a functional language like F#, where they can be seen in their purest (least hobbled) state. Once these concepts are understood, it is then much easier to understand how to wield these tools effectively in C#.

That said, there are also limits to how much functional programming can be done in C# (and how effectively it can be accomplished). This book clearly demarcates the boundaries of what is (and isn't) feasible in C# vis-à-vis functional programming.

One of the things I liked best about this book is the discussion on why functional programming makes code easier to read, write, and verify. This discussion does not appeal to what might be (for many) inaccessible theory (i.e. denotational semantics, category theory, etc.). Instead it is demonstrated in amazingly simple, straightforward ways! This discussion is very effective.

Another facet of this book's approach that I applaud is the demonstration of lambda calculus. Why would a practical book dabble in theory? There's actually a very pragmatic payoff in doing this: functional programming has a lot of underpinnings in lambda calculus. Those that have been exposed to lambda calculus will feel right at home in F#. Those that haven't are likely to feel more "culture shock" when being exposed to concepts like currying and lazy evaluation. Functional programming really does represent a substantially different way of thinking about computation.

This book also features an excellent discussion about design patterns; comparing and contrasting how they are implemented in OOP (object-oriented programming) versus FP. Some classic design patterns in OOP essentially come for free in FP (e.g. the "visitor" pattern).
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent tutorial with a unique approach 12 Jan 2010
By anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually don't like tutorial-style books, but am finding this one invaluable. More than the other F# titles to date, it explores at length what makes functional programming different, and what this means in a .NET context. A unique feature is the running comparison of F# with both traditional and "functional style" C#. Code listings are nicely labeled with arrows pointing out important details. The book is not intended as a language reference, and only lightly touches on the imperative and object-oriented sides of F#, or contents of standard .NET libraries, but this allows a more leisurely and thorough treatment of the distinctively functional concepts and their implications for program design. Highly recommended.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Good Book. 5 Jan 2010
By Andrei Mouravski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Functional Programming for the Real World, by Tomas Petricek and Jon Skeet,
introduces the functional programming paradigm by comparison to more traditional
imperative programming techniques. The first part of the book goes through many
common programming tasks and compares how you would implement them in the C#
programming language and then re-introduces the problem from a functional
perspective using F#. It introduces simple ideas such as recursion and how to
use recursion to simulate many iterative constructs to the idea of higher-order functions, all the while keeping the explanations and examples very clear. The
author also strives to instill good functional design practices in the reader by
introducing different ways to think of functional programs and common design
patterns that can assist in clean implementations.

The second half of the book dives into more advanced functional concepts, such
as lazy evaluation, efficiency, and continuations. It also takes a look at
using functional programming for practical tasks. Overall, this section is more
suited towards someone who understood the majority of the first half of the book, or to someone who is already familiar with functional concepts.

I would recommend this book to newcomers and intermediate programmers who are
looking to learn about or refine their functional programming skills. The
authors do a good job of covering the core material and also introduce a good
amount of advanced material towards the end of the book.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Verbose and repetitive 9 Jan 2012
By Michele Mottini - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The core content is fairly good, but it is ruined by the exposition: the same concepts are repeated multiple times in different places (e.g. fold operation, immutable data structures), and there is a ton of redundant verbiage (I don't know how else to call it) that obscures the actual information and makes the reading a slog.

An example of what I mean by 'verbiage' - on page 156:

....Let's now analyze how it works in some more detail.

6.4.3 Evaluating the example step by step
It can take some time to become confident with high-order functions like these,
especially when they are nested. We're going to examine how the code from the
previous listing by tracing how it runs for a few sample inputs. Moving from the
abstract question "What does this code do in the general case?" to the concrete
question of "What does this code do in this particular situation?" can often help
to clarify matter

This does not actually say anything - it just introduces what it's going to be written after - that you are going to read in any case. This is a page I opened at random - the book is full of this - constantly telling you what you just read and what you are going to read.

On top of this some more advanced stuff like continuations gets short (and not very illuminating) explanations - that is sort of galling in the middle of all this redundant stuff.

It could have been a good 200-300 pages book, instead it is a mediocre 500+ pages ones.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great book for understanding the rationale behind F# 20 Feb 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with other reviewers that this book is great in getting you through the ins and outs of why things are done the way they are in F#. I have not read the entire book, but so far my impressions are that it does a better job at explaining "why" than Expert F#, which is Don Syme's book.

On the other hand, this book should not be your first F# book, even if you know C#, which the authors draw parallels to throughout and very successfully. The reason for this is that often times you can't follow exactly the examples in the book to get snippet of code runnning. This forces you to go and find other sources to complement the sample code in the book to get it to run and solidify your understanding on the topic. You may like or dislike this.

As a first book I like beginning F#, which is indeed a great companion to this book as in this one, you can actually follow the samples in the book and almost always get running code. Plus Beginning F# has great merit on its own. I will do a review on this book soon.

Beyond that, there are other books which complement this one very well, a few of them are:

* F# Wikibook at [...]. This is a great book by awesome princess.
* Professional F# 2.0: I have not read this one entirely, but what I read I liked.
* Programming in Erlang: This one by Joe Armstrong is not F#, but Erlang shares a lot in common with F# in areas like tuples, list comprehensions, pattern matching and the message passing model. So even if it is not F#, reading this one will give you "portable" knowledge on the concepts mentioned.
* Expert F#: Don Syme's book, nuff said.
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