Guide - Web Programming with F#
F# excels at building efficient, scalable and robust web solutions. Web programming is based around receiving a single HTTP request and replying with a result, which maps very well to a stateless, functional approach. Advantages to using F# for web programming include:
Fast - F# code execution is fast, using native code generation from scripted or project code
Succinct - F# is concise, readable and type-safe, for fast development of robust web solutions
Reactive and Scalable - F# asynchronous programming simplifies scalable, reactive web programming
Open-source and cross-platform
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- Integrated Stacks
- Web Frameworks
- Web Testing Frameworks
- Live Examples
SAFE Stack is an end-to-end, functional-first stack for cloud-ready web development that emphasizes type-safe programming. It is an application development stack that brings several technologies together into a single, coherent stack for type-safe, flexible, web-enabled applications that can be written almost entirely in F#.
WebSharper allows end-to-end web applications with both client and server developed in F#. It includes TypeScript interoperability, mobile web apps, getting started material, templates and much more.
Fable is an F# to JS compiler designed to generate clean and standard code in order to maximize interoperability in both ways. It integrates with most of JS development pipelines like Babel, Webpack or React Hot Loader. Fable allows you to develop node.js services, desktop apps with Electron and mobile apps with React native.
Giraffe is an F# library for building rich web applications that use ASP.NET Core under the hood. It has been heavily inspired and is similar to Suave, but has been specifically designed with ASP.NET Core in mind and can be plugged into the ASP.NET Core pipeline via middleware.
ASP.NET Core is a modern, cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-based, Internet-connected applications. It runs on .NET Core and supports F# out of the box. If you install the .NET Core SDK, there are F# templates available via the
dotnet new command.
Suave is a simple web development F# library providing a lightweight web server and a set of combinators to manipulate route flow and task composition.
Saturn is a web development framework written in F# which implements the server-side MVC pattern. Many of its components and concepts will seem familiar to anyone with experience in other web frameworks like Ruby on Rails or Python’s Django. It’s built on top of Giraffe and ASP.Net Core - modern, cross-platform, high-performance development platform for building cloud-ready web applications.
It’s heavily inspired by Elixir’s Phoenix.
Serving Requests with IHttpHandler
Do it the simple way, and serve web requests direct from code using F# asynchronous programming.
SignalR provides bi-directional communication between web servers and clients using one of several mechanisms, beginning with web sockets and falling back through several other approaches depending on client and server capabilities. One example is a Web Application Server (F#).
BlazorRedux provides Redux-like state management for Blazor and works well with F#.
Trail provides an F# DSL for rendering in Blazor, allowing for a complete F# solution.
NancyFx Project Template Includes templates for for getting started with a range of NancyFx applications.
F#, NancyFx and Heroku - Using NancyFx and Heroku with F#
Freya provides a functional web stack built on top of OWIN. At its core, Freya wraps the OWIN environment dictionary with a computation expression and provides access to that dictionary with lenses. Additional layers of the stack provide types based on the HTTP and related RFCs, a pipeline abstraction for connecting Freya computations, a router, and an implementation of the HTTP finite state machine, like that found in webmachine.
ServiceStack is a framework for simple and fast web services on .NET and Mono.
Web Testing Frameworks
Canopy for Client-side Testing
canopy is a web testing framework built on top of selenium and written in F#. It’s syntax is clean and concise. You can easily leverage your existing .NET code to help you test.
Unit Testing Libraries
Some open source libraries that assist with web unit testing are:
TodoBackend is a project that aims to be “a shared example to showcase backend tech stacks.” The F# community has contributed some examples, and a few more are in progress:
Please consider contributing, either directly to the TodoBackend project or via the TodoBackendFSharp project.
- Suave Music Store Tutorial for creating applications with Suave.IO
Several books have been written that include information on building web applications with F#:
There are several presentations and tutorials available that include information on build web applications with F#:
Common hosting options are:
Azure Web Sites - Create and deploy to free Azure web sites from Visual Studio and other tools
AppHarbor - Free hosting of .NET web applications