ASP.NET and F# (I.) - Creating MVC web applications in F#
Some time ago, I wrote a couple of examples of developing web applications in F# using ASP.NET. Since then, the F# language and runtime has changed a little bit and there are also new technologies available in ASP.NET, so I thought I'd write a more up-to-date article on this topic. In this article, I'll present a simple "demo" F# web application that you can use as a starting point when creating your own projects (you'll also find a convenient Visual Studio 2010 template below). The article shows the following interesting things:
- ASP.NET MVC - We're going to use ASP.NET MVC Framework to create the web application. As the article name suggests, most of the actual program code including models and controllers will be implemented in F#.
- F# LINQ to SQL - The application uses a sample Northwind database and we'll write queries for selecting data from the database using LINQ support that's available in the F# PowerPack.
- F# features - The application also uses some nice F# features that are quite useful for developing web applications. We'll use modules and records to implement the model and we'll also use advanced meta-programming features for constructing LINQ queries.
If you want to use F# for creating an MVC application, you have a few options. It should be possible to create the web application solely as an F# project. However, we'll use a more convenient approach. We'll create a standard C# MVC project and move all the actual implementation to an F# library. We'll look at the application structure shortly. The following screenshot shows a page that lists products in the Northwind database: