Thursday, November 12, 2009

Potentially Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to bring a laptop?
A: If at all possible. This will be a day of coding so a laptop will be essential. There will be lots of pair programming, so: if you are a friendly character and brush your teeth regularly, you’ll probably be able to join up with someone who brought a laptop.

Q: What do I need to have installed?
A: If you have an F# IDE running on your machine that’s great; if not-- no problem. We will have CDs with several options for you.

Option 1 : Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2
This is really nice, but it will take a while to install (> an hour). If you want this configuration it would be best to install it before the Firestarter.
You can download and install Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 at:
Web installer: HERE

Option 2: Visual Studio 2008 

If you're already running VS2008 and don't want to monkey with the 2010 beta, you can install the F# October CTP. This will add F# as an additional language in your VS2008 environment.

Option 3: VS2008 integrated shell 
If you're not running VS2008, would like to use it for F# development , but do not wish to pay for it you can install the VS2008 integrated shell. Once it is installed, install F# and it will appear in the otherwise empty VS 2008 shell.
Shell: HERE (Note: the exe just unzips the redistributable to "c:\VS 2008 Shell Redist\" so you'll need to install from there.)

Option 4: SharpDevelop 3.1
If you don't want to run Visual Studio you can install the open source IDE SharpDevelop. Once it is installed, install F# and it will appear as an additional language option in SharpDevelop.
SharpDevelop: HERE

Option 5: MonoDevelop 2.0
If you are running Mac or Linux, you can install MonoDevelop 2.0 and then add the FSharp language bindings.  Note: MonoDevelop version 2.2 does not support F# (the language binding are being rewritten to conform to LGPL).

Option 6: Nothing but laptop and a smile
If you’d like a hand getting set up there will be CDs at the Firestarter packed the options above, and there will be plenty of folks to help out.

Q: Will there be food, snacks or refreshments?
A: A few of us are chipping in and bringing soda and water. From what we hear Microsoft will have coffee pots running.

If you'd like to bring snacks that’s cool. If you’d like to bring snacks to share that would be super cool. If you're one of those "not bringing a laptop" people, fresh bagels will likely secure you a seat on someone's team (assuming you brush your teeth regularly).

Q: So what about lunch?
A: There will be an hour (or so) lunch break around noon. Some of us are going to the new Chuy's (mmm mmm). There’s also a Bosco's very near the Microsoft office. Tons of restaurants around.  Other options include bringing a sandwich, or fasting.

Q: So who's deal is this? Is this a Microsoft thing? A .NET Users Group thing?
A: Some geeks (working for different companies) got together and thought it would be cool to get together, learn F# and build a support network. The Firestarter is step 1. So this is your deal as much as anyone's. Microsoft offered the use of their offices on a Saturday (much appreciated).

Q: So who are the experts? What are they going to teach me
A: This is definitely not a "sit at the master's feet" day of lectures.  There will be some introductions and a couple of brief slide decks to lay the foundation, but the majority of the day will be coding sessions (labs). This is a day for us all to dig in and get started. We’ll decide what would be cool to pull off, and then we’ll try to do it.
If you have some F#/functional programming knowledge we hope you'll help run the show.

Q: So who are these shadowy geeks you keep refering to?
A: Evan Hoff (blog), Dan Mohl (blog), Bryan Hunter (blog) and Chris Hefley (but Chris is completely swamped and can't make it)

Q: What if I don't have a clue? I mean I've never written a line of F#; am I wasting my/your time?
A: Nope. Very few folks have written any F#. The geeks behind this event are only one step ahead of you. No fear! OK? Come and learn how to get started. Make some friends. Help us start a community.

Q: Why Saturday?
A: Because giving up a Saturday is a sacrifice. Anyone giving up a Saturday to learn a fringe language like F# is a real geek. These are the folks who are going to build a community around F# and functional programming in Nashville.

Q: How about reference material?
A: If you have any F# Books bring them. If you’ve found code samples bring those too. We’re not sure if there will be WIFI access so plan for the worst.

Q: Will there be swag?
A: Yes. Microsoft and Firefly Logic have cosponsored some great swag.

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