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Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 255 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHA P TE R 1 0 ■ ■ ■ Using the F and .NET Libraries F and the .NET Framework offer a rich set of libraries for functional and imperative program- ming. In this chapter, we step back and give a broader overview of the .NET and F libraries. Many of the types and namespaces described here are also covered elsewhere in this book. In these cases, we simply reference the relevant chapter. A High-Level Overview One way to get a quick overview of the .NET Framework and the F library is to simply look at the primary DLLs and namespaces contained in them. Recall from Chapters 2 and 7 that DLLs correspond to the physical organization of libraries and that namespaces and types give the logical organization of a naming hierarchy. Let’s look at the physical organization first. The types and functions we cover in this chapter are drawn from the DLLs in Table 10-1. Table 10-1. DLLs Containing the Library Constructs Referred to in This Chapter DLL Name Notes mscorlib.dll Minimal system constructs including the types in the System namespace. System.dll Additional commonly used constructs in namespaces such as System and System.Text. System.XML.dll See the corresponding namespace in Table 10-2. System.Data.dll See the corresponding namespace in Table 10-2. System.Drawing.dll See the corresponding namespace in Table 10-2. System.Web.dll See the corresponding namespace in Table 10-2. System.Windows.Forms.dll See the corresponding namespace in Table 10-2. System.Query.dll The foundation types for LINQ. From .NET 3.5 onward. 255Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 256 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 256 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Table 10-1. DLLs Containing the Library Constructs Referred to in This Chapter (Continued) DLL Name Notes FSharp.Core.dll Minimal constructs for F assemblies. Called fslib.dll in earlier versions of F. FSharp.Compatibility.dll Called mllib.dll in earlier versions of F. All of these DLLs except System.Query.dll are referenced automatically from F projects. To reference additional DLLs, you can embed a reference directly into your source code. For example: I "C:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\v3.5;; r "System.Query.dll";; The first line specifies an include path, the equivalent of the -I command-line option for the F compiler. The second line specifies a DLL reference, the equivalent of the -r command- line option. We described these in Chapter 7. If you’re using Visual Studio, you can adjust the project property settings for your project. ■Note Hundreds of high-quality frameworks and libraries are available for .NET, and more are appearing all the time. For space reasons, this chapter covers only the .NET libraries and frameworks listed in Table 10-1. In the “Some Other .NET Libraries” section of this chapter, we list some libraries you might find interesting, and you can see more resources for finding .NET libraries at http://www.expert-fsharp/Topics/ Libraries. Namespaces from the .NET Framework Table 10-2 shows the primary namespaces in .NET Framework DLLs from Table 10-1. In some cases, parts of these libraries are covered elsewhere in this book. We’ve noted these cases in the table. For example, Chapter 4 introduced portions of the .NET I/O library from the System.IO namespace. Table 10-2. Namespaces in the DLLs from Table 10-1, with MSDN Descriptions Namespace Description System Types and methods that define commonly used value and reference data types, events and event handlers, interfaces, attributes, and processing exceptions, supporting data-type conversions, mathematics, application environment management, and runtime supervision of managed and unmanaged applications. See Chapter 3 for many of the basic types in this namespace. System.CodeDom Types that can be used to represent the elements and structure of a source code document. Not covered in this book.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 257 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 257 Table 10-2. Namespaces in the DLLs from Table 10-1, with MSDN Descriptions (Continued) Namespace Description System.Collections Types that define various nongeneric collections of objects, such as lists, queues, and bit arrays. Partially covered in the section “Using Further F and .NET Data Structures” later in this chapter. System.Collections.Generic Types that define generic collections. See Chapter 4 and the section “Using Further F and .NET Data Structures” later in this chapter. System.ComponentModel Types that are used to implement the runtime and design- time behavior of components and controls. See Chapter 11. System.Configuration Types that provide the programming model for handling configuration data. See Chapter 15. System.Data Types that represent the ADO.NET database access archi- tecture. See Chapter 15. System.Diagnostics Types that allow you to interact with system processes, event logs, and performance counters. See Chapter 18. System.Drawing Types that allow access to GDI+ basic graphics functionality. More advanced functionality is provided in the System. Drawing.Drawing2D, System.Drawing.Imaging, and System. Drawing.Text namespaces. See Chapter 11. System.Globalization Types that define culture-related information, including the language, the country/region, the calendars in use, the format patterns for dates, the currency, the numbers, and the sort order for strings. Not covered in this book. System.IO Types that allow reading and writing files and data streams, as well as types that provide basic file and directory support. See Chapter 4 for a basic overview. System.Media Types for playing and accessing sounds and other media formats. Not covered in this book. .NET 3.0 and later. System.Net Types to programmatically access many of the protocols used on modern networks. See Chapters 2 and 14 for examples and a basic overview. System.Reflection Types that retrieve information about assemblies, modules, members, parameters, and other entities in managed code. See Chapter 9 for a brief overview. System.Reflection.Emit Types for generating .NET code dynamically at run time. System.Resources Types that allow developers to create, store, and manage various culture-specific resources used in an application. See Chapters 7 and 11 for a brief overview. System.Security Types to interface with the underlying structure of the CLR security system, including base classes for permissions. Not covered in this book.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 258 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 258 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Table 10-2. Namespaces in the DLLs from Table 10-1, with MSDN Descriptions (Continued) Namespace Description System.Text Types representing ASCII, Unicode, UTF-8, and other char- acter encodings. Also abstract types for converting blocks of characters to and from blocks of bytes. See Chapters 3 and the section “Using Regular Expressions and Formatting” later in this chapter. System.Threading Types for creating and synchronizing threads. See Chapter 13. System.Web Types that enable web applications. See Chapter 14. System.Windows.Forms Types for creating windowed applications. See Chapter 11. System.Xml Types that implement standards-based support for processing XML. See Chapters 9 and 15. Microsoft.Win32 Types that wrap Win32 API common dialog boxes and compo- nents. Not covered in this book. Namespaces from the F Libraries Table 10-3 shows the primary namespaces in F library DLLs from Table 10-1. The following are opened by default in F code: Microsoft.FSharp.Core Microsoft.FSharp.Collections Microsoft.FSharp.Control Microsoft.FSharp.Text Table 10-3. Namespaces in the DLLs from Table 10-1 Namespace Description Microsoft.FSharp.Core Provides primitive constructs related to the F language such as tuples. See Chapter 3. Microsoft.FSharp.Collections Provides functional programming collections such as sets and maps implemented using binary trees. See Chapter 3 and the section “Using Further F and .NET Data Structures” later in this chapter. Microsoft.FSharp.Control Provides functional programming control structures including asynchronous and lazy programming. Chapter 8 covers programming with the IEvent'a type and the IEvent module, and Chapter 13 covers the Async'a type. Microsoft.FSharp.Text Provides types for structured and printf-style textual formatting of data. See Chapter 4 for an introduction to printf formatting. Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection Provides extensions to the System.Reflection functionality that deal particularly with F record and discriminated union values. See Chapter 9 for a brief introduction, and see the section “Further Libraries for Reflective Techniques” section later in this chapter for more details. Microsoft.FSharp.Quotations Provides access to F expressions as abstract syntax trees. See Chapter 9.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 259 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 259 Using the System Types Table 10-4 shows some of the most useful core types from the System namespace. These types are particularly useful because they take real care to define correctly. Table 10-4. Useful Core Types from the System Namespace Function Description System.DateTime A type representing a date and time System.DayOfWeek An enumeration type representing a day of the week System.Decimal A numeric type suitable for financial calculations requiring large numbers of significant integral and fractional digits and no round- off errors System.Guid A type representing a 128-bit globally unique ID System.Nullable'a A type with an underlying value type 'a but that can be assigned null like a reference type System.TimeSpan A type representing a time interval System.Uri A type representing a uniform resource identifier (URI), such as an Internet URL The following session shows some sample uses of the DateTime type: open System;; DateTime.Parse("13 July 1968");; val it : DateTime = 13/07/1968 00:00:00 Day = 13; DayOfWeek = Saturday; DayOfYear = 195; Hour = 0; Millisecond = 0; Minute = 0; Month = 7; Second = 0; Ticks = 620892000000000000L; TimeOfDay = 00:00:00; Year = 1968; let date x = DateTime.Parse(x);; val date : string - DateTime printfn "date = %A" (date "13 July 1968");; date = 13/07/1968 00:00:00 val it : unit = ()Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 260 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 260 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES printfn "birth = %A" (date "18 March 2003, 6:21:01pm");; birth = 18/03/2003 18:21:01 val it : unit = () Note that formatting dates depends on the user’s localization settings; you can achieve more explicit formatting by using the System.DateTime.ToString overload that accepts explicit format information. Here we use System.Uri type to parse a URL: open System;; System.Uri.TryCreate("http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/", UriKind.Absolute);; val it : bool System.Uri = (true, http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/ AbsolutePath = "/"; ... DnsSafeHost = "www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk"; ... Port = 80; ... Scheme = "http"; ) Uri.TryCreate("e3£%//ww.gibberish.com", UriKind.Absolute);; val it : bool Uri = (false, null) Many .NET types are used to hold static functions such as those for converting data from one format to another. Types such as System.Random play a similar role via objects with a small amount of state. Table 10-5 shows some of the most useful of these types. Table 10-5. Useful Services from the System Namespace Function Description System.BitConverter Contains functions to convert numeric representations to and from bit representations System.Convert Contains functions to convert between various numeric representations System.Math Contains constants and static methods for trigonometric, logarithmic, and other common mathematical functions System.Random Provides objects to act as random number generators System.StringComparer Provides objects implementing various types of comparisons on strings (case insensitive, and so on)Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 261 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 261 Using Regular Expressions and Formatting In Chapter 3 you saw the different forms of string literals (strings with escape characters, verbatim strings, and byte arrays) and the most typical operations such as concatenation using string builders. You may also remember that string values are immutable and that string operations that “change” their input return a new string that represents the result. In the following sections, we cover further ways to work with strings and text. Matching with System.Text.RegularExpressions One of the most popular ways of working with strings as data is through the use of regular expressions. This is done using the functionality from the .NET System.Text.RegularExpressions namespace. To get started, first note that the F library includes the following definition: open System.Text.RegularExpressions let regex s = new Regex(s) To this you can add the following Perl-like operators: let (=) s (re:Regex) = re.IsMatch(s) let () s (re:Regex) = not (s = re) Here the inferred types are as follows: val regex : string - Regex val ( = ) : string - Regex - bool val ( ) : string - Regex - bool The infix operators allow you to test for matches: let samplestring = "This is a string";; val samplestring : string if samplestring = regex "his" then printfn "A Match ";; A Match val it : unit = () Regular expressions can include , +, and ? symbols for “zero or more occurrences,” “one or more occurrences,” and “zero or one occurrences” of the immediately preceding regular expression and can include parentheses to group regular expressions. For example: "This is a string" = regex "(is )+";; val it : bool = trueSyme_850-4C10.fm Page 262 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 262 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Regular expressions can also be used to split strings: (regex " ").Split("This is a string");; val it : string = "This"; "is"; "a"; "string" Here we have used the regular expression " " for whitespace. In reality, you probably want to use the regular expression " +" to match multiple spaces. Better still, you can match any Unicode whitespace character using \s, including end-of-line markers; however, when using escape characters, you will want to use verbatim strings to specify the regular expression, such as "\s+". We discussed verbatim strings in Chapter 3. Let’s try this: (regex "\s+").Split("I'm a little teapot");; val it : string = "I'm"; "a"; "little"; "teapot" (regex "\s+").Split("I'm a little \t\t\n\t\n\t teapot");; val it : string = "I'm"; "a"; "little"; "teapot" Here’s how to match by using the method Match instead of using = and IsMatch. This lets you examine the positions of a match. let m = (regex "joe").Match("maryjoewashere");; val m : Match if m.Success then printfn "Matched at position %d" m.Index;; Matched at position 4 val it : unit = () Replacing text is also easy: let text = "was a dark and stormy night";; val text: string let t2 = (regex "\w+").Replace(text, "WORD");; val t2: string t2;; val it : string = "WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD" Here we’ve used the regular expression "\w+" for a sequence of word characters.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 263 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 263 Table 10-6 shows the broad range of specifiers that can be used with .NET regular expressions. Table 10-6. Regular Expression Escape Characters Characters Description Ordinary characters Characters other than . ( ) + ? \ match themselves. . Matches any character, except \n. If RegexOptions.SingleLine is specified, then it matches every character. aeiou0-9 Matches any of the given characters or character ranges. aeiou0-9 Any character other than the given characters of character ranges. \pname Matches any character in the named character class specified by name. See the .NET documentation for full details. \Pname Matches text not included in groups and block ranges specified in name. \w Matches any word character. \W Matches any nonword character. \s Matches any whitespace character. \S Matches any nonwhitespace character. \d Matches any decimal digit. \D Matches any nondigit. \a Matches a bell (alarm) \u0007. \b Matches a backspace \u0008 if in a character class; otherwise, in a regular expression, \b denotes a word boundary (between \w and \W characters). In a replacement pattern, \b always denotes a backspace. \t Matches a tab \u0009. \r Matches a carriage return \u000D. \v Matches a vertical tab \u000B. \f Matches a form feed \u000C. \n Matches a new line \u000A. \e Matches an escape \u001B. \digit Matches a back reference. \040 Matches an ASCII character as octal. \x20 Matches an ASCII character using hexadecimal representation (exactly two digits). \cC Matches an ASCII control character; for example, \cC is Ctrl+C. \u0020 Matches a Unicode character using hexadecimal representation (exactly four digits). \ When followed by a character that is not recognized as an escaped character, matches that character. For example, \ is the same as \x2A.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 264 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 264 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES You can specify case-insensitive matches by using (?i) at the start of a regular expression: samplestring = regex "(?i)HIS";; val it : bool = true samplestring = regex "HIS";; val it : bool = false Here is a final example, showing the use of “named groups.” let entry = " Jolly Jethro 13 Kings Parade Cambridge, Cambs CB2 1TJ " let re = regex "(?=\n)\s(?city\n+)\s,\s(?county\w+)\s+(?pcode.3\s.3)." You can now use this regular expression to match the text and examine the named elements of the match: let r = re.Match(entry);; val r : Match r.Groups.Item("city").Value;; val it : string = "Cambridge" r.Groups.Item("county").Value;; val it : string = "Cambs" r.Groups.Item("pcode").Value;; val it : string = "CB2 1TJ" Note that at the time of writing, F requires that you use the Item property to examine elements of a match group. The F designers have indicated that in a future release you will be able to use the shorter notation r.Groups."city".Value. ■Note .NET regular expressions have many more features than those described here. For example, you can easily compile regular expressions. You can also use regular expressions to define sophisticated text substi- tutions. With a little more work, you can also define active patterns based on functions defined using regular expressions. We discussed active patterns in Chapter 9. This and other more advanced topics are discussed at http://www.expert-fsharp.com/Topics/RegularExpressions.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 265 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 265 Formatting Strings Using .NET Formatting Throughout this book we have used F printf format strings to format text and output, and we introduced the basic format specifiers for this kind of text formatting in Chapter 4. Functions such as printf and printfn are located in the Microsoft.FSharp.Text.Printf module. Another way to format strings is to use the System.String.Format static method or the other .NET composite formatting functions such as System.Console.WriteLine and TextWriter. WriteLine. This is a completely distinct set of formatting functions and directives redesigned and implemented from the ground up for the .NET platform. Like printf, these methods take a format specifier and the objects to be formatted. The format specifier is a string with any number of format items acting as placeholders and designating which object is to be formatted and how. Consider the following simple example: string.Format("0 1 2", 12, "a", 1.23);; val it : string = "12 a 1.23" Each format item is enclosed in braces giving the index of the object to be formatted, and each can include an optional alignment specification (always preceded by a comma after the index, giving the width of the region in which the object is to be inserted, as in 0, 10) and a format type that guides how the given object is formatted (as in 0:C, where C formats as a system currency). The general syntax of the format item is as follows: index,alignment:formatType You can use the alignment value to pad the formatted object with spaces, and text align- ment is left if its value is negative and right if positive. Table 10-7 summarizes the most often used format types. Table 10-7. The .NET Format Specifiers Specifier Type C Currency D Decimal/long date E Scientific F Fixed-point G General N Number P Percent X Hexadecimal d/D Short/long date t/T Short/long time M Month Y YearSyme_850-4C10.fm Page 266 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 266 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES You can find more information on .NET composite formatting at http://www. expert-fsharp.com/Topics/TextFormatting. Encoding and Decoding Unicode Strings It is often necessary to convert string data between different formats. For example, files read using the ReadLine method on the System.IO.StreamReader type are read with respect to a Unicode encoding; you can specify this when creating the StreamReader; if left unspecified, the .NET libraries attempt to determine the encoding for you. One common requirement is to convert strings to and from ASCII representations, assuming that all the characters in the strings are in the ASCII range 0 to 127. You can do this using System.Text.Encoding.ASCII.GetString and System.Text.Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes. Table 10-8 shows the predefined encodings and commonly used members in the System. Text.Encoding type. Table 10-8. Types and Members Related to Unicode Encodings Type/Member Description System.Text.Encoding Represents a character encoding UTF8 : Encoding The encoding for the UTF-8 Unicode format ASCII : Encoding The encoding for the ASCII 7-bit character set Unicode : Encoding The encoding for the UTF-16 Unicode format UTF32 : Encoding The encoding for the UTF-32 Unicode format GetEncoding : string - Encoding Fetches an encoding by name member GetBytes : string - byte Encodes a string to bytes member GetChars: byte - char Decodes a sequence of bytes member GetString : byte - string Decodes a sequence of bytes Encoding and Decoding Binary Data Another common requirement is to convert binary data to and from the standard 64-character string-encoded representation of binary data used in XML, e-mail, and other formats. You can do this using System.Convert.FromBase64String and System.Convert.ToBase64String. Using Further F and .NET Data Structures As you saw in Chapter 2, F comes with a useful implementation of some functional program- ming data structures. Recall that functional data structures are persistent: you can’t mutate them, and if you add an element or otherwise “modify” the collection, you are actually gener- ating a new collection value, perhaps sharing some internal nodes but from the outside appearing as if it is a new value. Table 10-9 summarizes the most important persistent functional data structures that are included in FSharp.Core.dll. It is likely that additional functional data structures will also be added in future F releases.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 267 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 267 Table 10-9. The F Functional Data Structures from Microsoft.FSharp.Collections Type Description List'a Immutable lists implemented using linked lists Set'a Immutable sets implemented using trees Map'k,'v Immutable maps (dictionaries) implemented using trees LazyList'a Lists generated on demand with each element computed only once System.Collections.Generic and Other .NET Collections Table 10-10 summarizes the imperative collections available in the System.Collections. Generic namespace. Table 10-10. The .NET and F Imperative Data Structures from System.Collections.Generic Type Description List'a Mutable, resizable integer-indexed arrays, usually called ResizeArray'a in F. SortedList'a Mutable, resizable lists implemented using sorted arrays. Dictionary'key,'value Mutable, resizable dictionaries implemented using hash tables. SortedDictionary'key,'value Mutable, resizable dictionaries implemented using sorted arrays. Queue'a Mutable, first-in, first-out queues of unbounded size. Stack'a Mutable, first-in, last-out stacks of unbounded size. HashSet'a Mutable, resizable sets implemented using hash tables. New in .NET 3.5. The F library also defines a Microsoft. FSharp.Collections.HashSet type usable in conjunction with earlier versions of .NET. SOME OTHER COLLECTION LIBRARIES Two additional libraries of .NET collections deserve particular attention. The first is PowerCollections, currently provided by Wintellect. This provides additional generic types such as Bag'a, MultiDictionary'key,'value, OrderedDictionary'key,'value, OrderedMultiDictionary'a, and OrderedSet'a. The second is the C5 collection library, provided by ITU in Denmark. This includes implementations of some persistent/functional data structures such as persistent trees and thus may be of particular interest for use from F. You can find out more about using these libraries at http://www.expert-fsharp/Topics/Libraries.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 268 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 268 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Introducing Microsoft.FSharp.Math The F library includes a namespace Microsoft.FSharp.Math that defines a number of mathe- matical-related constructs including matrix and vector types, double-precision complex numbers (type Complex, abbreviated complex), arbitrary-precision integers (type BigInt, abbreviated bigint), and arbitrary-precision rationals (type BigNum, abbreviated bignum). Over time it is expected that F will include further functionality in this namespace. Using Matrices and Vectors F includes matrix and column vector types, which are generic and called Matrix'a and Vector'a, respectively. For symmetry a type of row vectors, RowVector'a, is also included. Most commonly, the element types are instantiated to be double (that is, float), so the following abbreviations are used: type vector = Vectorfloat type matrix = Matrixfloat type rowvec = RowVectorfloat The modules Matrix, Vector, and RowVector in the Microsoft.FSharp.Math namespace have many further functions for creating and working with these types. The functions are specialized for use with floating-point matrices, but versions to work with generic types are available at Microsoft.FSharp.Math.Matrix.Generic and Microsoft.FSharp.Math.Vector. Generic. The functions vector and matrix are also available for creating literal values. Here are some examples of the uses of these types and functions: open Microsoft.Fsharp.Math;; vector 1.0; 2.0 ; 3.0 + vector 1.0; 2.0 ; 3.0 ;; val it : Vectorfloat = vector 2.0; 4.0; 6.0 matrix 1.0; 2.0 ; 1.0; 3.0 matrix 1.0; -2.0 ; 0.5; 3.0 ;; val it : Math.matrix = matrix 1.0; -4.0; 0.5; 9.0; Table 10-11 summarizes the primary properties of these types. Table 10-11. The Microsoft.FSharp.Math Matrix and Vector Types Type/Member Member Type Description type Matrix'a . : int int - 'a with set, get Gets or sets the item at the given position in the matrix.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 269 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 269 Table 10-11. The Microsoft.FSharp.Math Matrix and Vector Types (Continued) Type/Member Member Type Description Dimensions : int int Gets the number of (rows, columns) in the matrix. NumCols : int Gets the number of columns in the matrix. NumRows : int Gets the number of rows in the matrix. GetSlice2D : ?int ?int ?int ?int - Gets a submatrix. See Matrix'a the slice syntax for arrays, also usable for matrices, in Chapter 4. Transpose : Matrix'a Gets the transpose of the matrix. type Vector'a . : int - 'a with set, get Gets or sets the item at the given position in the vector. NumRows : int Gets the number of rows in the vector. GetSlice : ?int ?int - Vector'a Gets a subvector. Transpose : RowVector'a Gets the transpose of the vector. Using Operator Overloads on Matrices and Vectors The F matrix, vector, and row vector types support the use of operators such as +, -, and . Table 10-12 shows the set of operators supported. Table 10-12. Primary Operator Overloads Supported by the F Matrix and Vector Types Operator Overload Description ( ) : 'a Matrix'a - Matrix'a Scalar-matrix multiplication ( ) : RowVector'a Matrix'a - RowVector'a Vector-matrix multiplication ( ) : Matrix'a Vector'a - Vector'a Matrix-vector multiplication ( ) : Matrix'a Matrix'a - Matrix'a Matrix multiplication ( . ) : Vector'a Vector'a - Vector'a Pointwise multiplication ( . ) : Matrix'a Matrix'a - Matrix'a Pointwise multiplication ( + ) : Vector'a Vector'a - Vector'a Pointwise addition ( + ) : Matrix'a Matrix'a - Matrix'a Pointwise additionSyme_850-4C10.fm Page 270 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 270 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES ■Note At the time of writing, the F distribution came with prototype plotting and linear algebra modules for use with libraries that provide plotting and numeric functionality such as Excel, Xceed, and the Intel MKL libraries, as well as the commonly used BLAS and LAPACK libraries. This functionality was not yet fully integrated into the F libraries at the time of writing. You can find further information at http:// www.expert-fsharp.com/Topics/Math. Supervising and Isolating Execution The .NET System namespace includes a number of useful types that give functionality related to the execution of running programs in the .NET Common Language Runtime. Table 10-13 summarizes them. Table 10-13. Types Related to Runtime Supervision of Applications Function Description System.Runtime Contains advanced types that support compilation and native interoperability. System.Environment Provides information about, and the means to manipulate, the current environment and platform. System.GC Controls the system garbage collector. We discuss garbage collection in more detail in Chapter 17. System.WeakReference Represents a weak reference, which references an object while still allowing that object to be reclaimed by garbage collection. System.AppDomain Represents an application domain, which is a software-isolated environment where applications execute. Application domains can hold code generated at run time and can be unloaded. Further Libraries for Reflective Techniques As discussed in Chapter 9, .NET and F programming frequently uses reflective techniques to analyze the types of objects, create objects at run time, and use type information to drive generic functions in general ways. For example, in Chapter 9 you saw an example of a technique called schema compilation, which was based on .NET attributes, F data types, and a compiler to take these and use reflective techniques to generate an efficient text file reader and translator. The combination of reflective techniques and .NET generics allows programs to operate at the boundary between statically typed code and dynamically typed data. Using General Types There are a number of facets to reflective programming with .NET. One simple kind of reflective programming is when a whole range of data structures are accessed in a “general” way. For example, .NET includes a type System.Array that is a parent type of all array types. The exist- ence of this type allows you to write code that is generic over all array types, even one-dimensional Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 271 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 271 and multidimensional arrays. This is occasionally useful, such as when writing a generic array printer. Table 10-14 summarizes the primary general types defined in the .NET Framework. Table 10-14. General Types in the .NET Framework Function Description System.Array General type of all array values. System.Delegate General type of all delegates. System.Enum General type of all enum values. System.Exception General type of all exception values. System.Collections.IEnumerable General type of all sequence values. This is the nongeneric verision of the F type seq'a, and all sequence and collection values are compatible with this type. System.IComparable General type of all comparable types. System.IDisposable General type of all explicitly reclaimable resources. System.IFormattable General type of all types supporting .NET formatting. System.Object General type of all values. System.Type Runtime representation of .NET types. System.ValueType General type of all value types. Using Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection In Chapter 9 our schema compiler used some functions from the Microsoft.FSharp. Reflection namespace. This namespace is a relatively thin extension of the System.Reflection namespace. It offers an interesting set of techniques to create and analyze F values and types in ways that are somewhat simpler than those offered by the System.Reflection namespace. These operations are also designed to be used in precompilation phases to amortize costs associated with reflective programming. Table 10-15 summarizes the main types in this namespace and some of the more inter- esting members. Table 10-15. Some Operations in the Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection Namespace Module and Functions Description module Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection.Type GetInfo : Type - TypeInfo Gets information for a type. GetTypeOfReprType : Type - Type Throws away extraneous compiler- specific information from a runtime type to return a true F type. IsOptionType : Type - bool Determines whether the given type is an option type.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 272 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 272 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Table 10-15. Some Operations in the Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection Namespace (Continued) Module and Functions Description IsUnitType : Type - bool Determines whether the given type is the unit type. MaxTupleSize : int Gets the maximum size for which the structure of F tuple types are faithfully reported by reflection. module Microsoft.FSharp.Reflection.Value GetInfo : 'a - ValueInfo Gets the reflective view of a value. GetRecordConstructor : Type - (obj - obj) Precomputes a function for constructing a record value. GetRecordFieldReader : Type string - (obj - obj) Precomputes a function for reading a particular field from a record. GetRecordReader : Type - (obj - obj ) Precomputes a function for reading all the fields from a record. GetSumConstructor : Type int - (obj - obj) Precomputes a function for constructing a discriminated union value. The integer is the index of a constructor in the discriminated union. GetSumRecordReader : Type int - (obj - obj ) Precomputes a function for reading all the fields for a particular constructor in the discriminated union. GetSumTagConverters : Type - int (int - string) Precomputes a pair of functions for (string - int) converting between the indexes and names of the constructors in a discrimi- nated union. GetSumTagReader : Type - (obj - int) Precomputes a function for reading the index of the constructor for a discrimi- nated union. GetTupleConstructor : Type - (obj - obj) Precomputes a function for creating values of a particular tuple type. GetTupleReader : Type - (obj - obj ) Precomputes a function for reading the values of a particular tuple type. GetType : 'a - Type Gets the runtime representation of the F type of a value. This will often be less specific than obj.GetType(). Some Other .NET Types You May Encounter When .NET was first designed, the .NET type system did not include “generics” or a general notion of a “function type” as used by F. Instead of functions, .NET uses delegates, which can be thought of as “named” function types (that is, each different kind of function type is given a different name).Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 273 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES 273 This means you will often encounter delegate types when using .NET libraries from F. Since .NET 2.0, some of these are even generic, giving an approximation to the simple and unified view of function types used by F. Every .NET delegate type has a corresponding F function type. For example, the F function type for the .NET delegate type System.Windows. Forms.PaintEventHandler is obj - System.Windows.Forms.PaintEventArgs - unit. You can figure out this type by looking at the signature for the Invoke method of the given delegate type. .NET also comes with definitions for some “generic” delegate types. F tends to use func- tion types instead of these, so you won’t see these so often in your coding. However, Table 10-16 shows these delegate types just in case you should meet them. Table 10-16. Delegate Types Encountered Occasionally in F Coding Function F Function Type Description System.Action'a 'a - unit Used for imperative actions. System.AsyncCallback System.IAsyncResult - unit Used for callbacks when asynchronous actions complete. System.Converter'a,'b 'a - 'b Used to convert between values. System.Comparison'a 'a - 'a - int Used to compare values. System.EventHandler'a obj - 'a - unit Used as a generic event-handler type. System.Func'a,'b 'a - 'b A .NET 3.5 LINQ function delegate. Further arity-overloaded types exist accepting additional arguments, for example, System.Func'a,'b,'c, System.Func'a,'b,'c,’d. System.Predicate'a 'a - bool Used to test a condition. Some Other .NET Libraries Any review of the libraries that are usable with F and .NET is necessarily incomplete; there are just too many high-quality .NET libraries available, and more are appearing all the time. However, people often ask us which libraries we recommend. Table 10-17 shows some of the frameworks and libraries available at the time of writing that we think may be of interest to the readers of this book. Table 10-17. Some Frameworks and Libraries Not Covered in This Chapter Framework/Library Name Description Microsoft Robotics Studio A .NET environment for creating robotics applications that run across a variety of hardware. Microsoft XNA A .NET environment for games for Microsoft gaming platforms such as Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. GTK A set of .NET bindings for the GTK+ GUI toolkit, primarily used on Mono to enable windowed applications on Linux and other platforms.Syme_850-4C10.fm Page 274 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:51 PM 274 CHAPTER 10 ■ USING THE F AND .NET LIBRARIES Table 10-17. Some Frameworks and Libraries Not Covered in This Chapter (Continued) Framework/Library Name Description Extreme Optimization A commercial math, vector, statistics, and matrix library for .NET. Irrlicht An open-source, high-performance, real-time 3D engine. LINQ Language Integrated Queries, contained in .NET 3.5. See Chapter 15. Windows Presentation The graphical subsystem of .NET 3.0. Not covered in this book. Foundation (WPF) Windows Communication A unified framework for building connected systems. Not covered Foundation (WCF) in this book. Summary This chapter gave an overview of the primary libraries available for use with a vanilla installa- tion of F and .NET. Many, many other libraries are available for .NET, and we couldn’t possibly cover them in a single book. Many of the design patterns you’ve seen here recur in those libraries, so once you get to know the libraries discussed here, you will find that other libraries are easy to use. In the chapters that follow, we will dig into applications of F and the .NET Framework more deeply, looking at some of the libraries discussed in this chapter in more detail.