The Concept of Functions And Variables in F#


Functions

F# is a functional programming language that came with Visual Studio 2010. Functional programming is a programming paradigm that treats computations as the evaluations of mathematical functions. A function is a central point of a functional language. Functions are a first class part of the F# type system. It can perform an action, produce a value and define a purpose. Functions play an important role throughout the language; for example the type "char-> int" represents a F# function that takes a char and returns an int.

A Function is a type that gives the name functional programming to F#. Functions can be used in the same way as any other type. They can be given as an argument to other functions or returned from a function as a result and the function's type can be used as a Type argument to generic types. For example you can create a list of Functions. Although unlike .Net delegates, F# functions have the following two important differences:

  • The first difference is that Functions are not Nominal. Any Function that takes a char and returns an int is of Type "char-> int" whereas multiple differently named delegates may be used to represent functions of this signature and are not interchangeable.

  • The second difference is that Functions are designed to efficiently support either partial or full application.

The F# language provides many already created Functions, referred to as built-in Functions. printfn is one of the built-in Functions in F#.

Example-

// Built-in Function Example

printfn "This is showing Built-in Function"

Example

To declare a Function in F# we use the Let keyword.

funct1.gif

// Function Example for addition substraction

let add a b = a + b
let sub a b = a - b
let printThreeNumbers number1 number2 number3 =
    printfn "number1: %i" number1
    printfn "number2: %i" number2
    printfn "number3: %i" number3
printThreeNumbers 6 (add 42 6) (sub 42 6)

Output-

funct2.gif

Example-

funct4.gif


let sqr x = x*x;;
let y= sqr 5;;
printfn "%d"y;;
System.Console.ReadKey(true);

Output-

funct3.gif

Variables

A variable is a section of the computer's memory used to temporarily hold a value. Declaring a variable means that the variable has been reserved a portion of memory. The variable can be changed if you rpovide the Mutable keyword for that variable. In F# a Mutable variable has limited scope, either as a field of a type or as a local value. Mutable variables with a limited scope are easier to control and less likely to be modified in an incorrect manner.

To declare a variable, use the let operator, followed by a name for the variable and assign a value to it using the assignment operator "=". The Syntax for declaring a Variable is:

let VariableName= Value
Example-

let a = 2

You can also use a semicolon at the end for termination. A semicolon is optional.

let a = 2;
We declare and initialize a variable in one line, but if you want you can initialize it in next line.

let a = 
      2

Or you can use semicolan.

let a = 
      2;

Example-
var1.gif

//Variable Example
let a = 6
let b = 5
let c = a+ b
printfn "a: %i" a
printfn "b: %i" b
printfn "c: %i" c

Output-
var2.gif

Example-
Showing an integer variable:
var4.gif


let x = 5;
printfn "%d"x;;
System.Console.ReadKey(true);

Output-
var3.gif
Summary
In this article I have covered Functions and Variables.