Introducing TryJoinads.org

If you have been following my blog, you've probably already heard of joinads. It is a research extension of F# computation expressions (or monads in Haskell). The extension makes computation expressions more useful in domains like parallel, concurrent and reactive programming. However, it can be used for any type of computation including, for example, parsers. If you're interested in detailed description, you can find it in two academic papers that I blogged about previously: PADL 2011 and Haskell 2011.

The extension adds a keyword match! - as the syntax suggests, it is akin to pattern matching using match, but instead of pattern matching on values, you can pattern match on computations like Async<'T> (or on other monadic values). Just like other features of computation expressions, the match! syntax is translated to applications of several methods defined by the computation builder.

Try it at TryJoinads.org

I won't say more about joinads in this post, because you can now easily try joinads yourself! Previously, the only option was to use a prototype F# compiler from command line. However, a recent open-source release of F# also includes the source code of a Silverlight-based F# compiler and a control used at TryFsharp.org.

This inspired me to create a web site where you could play with the match! extension in your web browser. The web site runs a modified version of the F# compiler and contains tutorials that demonstrate several applications:

At the moment, the web site contains only a few tutorials, but I'll keep adding more as I publish them on this blog. To whet your appetite, the following list shows applications that I'm working on (and that I'll publish on the blog in the next few days).

TryJoinads Tutorials

Source code & contributions

One of my motivations for working on TryJoinads.org was to make it possible for others to experiment with the extension. The above list of possible uses for match! is definitely not complete and I believe there are numerous other interesting computation expressions that could use the feature.

Using the Silverlight-hosted F# compiler, you can write your own joinads. To make it possible to easily share your experiments, I published the entire source code of the TryJoinads.org project on GitHub. If you implement your own computation expression that uses joinads, I'd be more than happy to include it as one of the tutorials. You can find more information about contributing on the GitHub page of the project.

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