What’s new in the F# programming language

The main behavioral change makes F# tuple types and System.Tuple types completely synonymous, while the Version 4.5 beta brings in Span

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In mid-August 2018, Microsoft released the production Version 4.5 of F#, which supports the Span value type from .Net Core to improve code.

Current version: What’s new in F# 4.5

Span, aka Span<T>, enables the representation of contiguous regions in arbitrary memory. With Span, Microsoft wants F# to have better code generation particularly for byref-like constructions and full parity with .Net Core performance innovations. Interoperability with high-performance code also is a goal.

Span allows for safe use of performance-oriented constructs in a restrictive manner. For example, a developer cannot define an F# record type with a Span inside it, because Span is a byref-like type and thus can only be contained in other byref types.

The Span feature set in F# 4.5 includes:

  • The voidptr type.
  • Comprehensive safety checks to prevent unsound code.
  • The ability to produce IsReadOnly structs.
  • The ability to produce IsByRefLike structs.
  • inref<’T> and outref<’T> types, which are read- and write-only versions of byref<’T>.
  • The ability to write extension methods on byref<'T>inref<'T>, and outref<'T>.

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