I'm writing this post in the train to London Stensted, on my way back from F# Exchange 2018 conference.

F# Exchange is a yearly conference taking place in London, and 2018 edition was the first one for me personally. I also had an honour to speak there about creating Azure Functions with F#.

Impression

F# is still relatively niche language, so the conference is not overcrowded, but that gives it a special feeling of family gathering. There were 162 participants this year, and I have an impression that every one of them is extremely friendly, enthusiastic and just plain awesome.

The conference itself had 2 tracks of 45-minute talks and 60-minute keynotes. Most talks were of high quality, and the topics ranging from compiler internals to fun applications like music generation, car racing and map drawing.

Both Don Syme, the creator of F#, and Philip Carter, F# program manager, were there and gave keynotes, but they were careful enough not to draw too much attention on Microsoft and let the community speak loud.

Corridor Track

But the talks were just a part of the story. For me, the conference started in the evening before the first day at the speakers drinks party, and only finished at 1 a.m. after the second day (the pubs in London are lovely).

I spoke to so many great people, I learnt a lot, and had fun too. I've never seen so many F# folks at the same place, and I guess there must be something about F# which attracts the right kind of people to it.

And of course it's so much fun to meet face-to-face all those twitter, slack, github and Channel 9 persona's and to see that they are actually real people :)

My Talk

The talk I gave was called "Azure F#unctions". It was not a hard-core F# talk, but people seemed to be genuinely interested in the topic.

A decent amount of attendees are already familiar with Azure Functions, and many either run them in production or plan to do so.

The reference version conflict problem is very well known and raises a lots of questions or concerns. This even leads to workarounds like transpiling F# Functions to Javascript with Fable. Yikes.

Durable Functions seem to be sparkling a lot of initial interest. I'll be definitely spending more time to play with them, and maybe to make F# story more smooth.

Functions were mentioned in Philip's keynote as one of the important areas for F# application, which is cool. We should spend some extra effort to make the documentation and onboarding story as smooth as possible.

Call to Action

Skills Matter is the company behind the conference. Carla, Nicole and others did a great job preparing the event; everything went smooth, informal and fun.

The videos are already online at Skillscasts (requires free signup).

F# Exchange 2019 super early bird tickets are for sale now and until Monday April 9, go get one and join F# Exchange in London next year!

I'm already missing you all.