OCaml vs F#
If you are interested in web applications, systems programming, static analysis, formal methods, fintech, and building automation tools, you should learn Ocaml.
OCaml is a general-purpose, high-level multi-paradigm programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety.
OCaml mixes power and pragmatism in a way that makes it ideal for building complex software systems.
On the other hand, if you are interested in web development, data science, desktop applications, cloud programming, and mobile app development, you should learn F#.
F# is a functional-first, general-purpose, programming language that empowers everyone to write succinct, robust, and performant code.
Comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use for your next project can be tricky.
There are many factors to consider in order to choose the right programming language for the job you want to do.
Popularity, opportunities, type of projects, salaries, resources, learning curve, etc. are some of the factors that many people consider when comparing programming languages and choosing which one to learn or use.
Here are some of the comparisons and considerations you should make when choosing to learn a new programming language.
OCAML VS F# POPULARITY
Comparing the popularity of programming languages is not an easy task because each programming language is different.
Although the usage of many programming languages may intersect, different fields and projects may require the use of different programming languages.
Plus, other programming languages have been around for a longer time than others, giving them more time to be tried and tested, so, bear that in mind.
If you want to learn a programming language solely for its popularity among developers, you should learn F# over OCaml.
Generally, F# is more popular than OCaml. As of May 2023, the TIOBE index ranks F# as the 37th most popular programming language while OCaml does not show up in the top 50.
According to a Stack Overflow survey of 2022, F# is the 35th most commonly used programming language, it is used by 1.03% of developers
On the other hand, OCaml is the 41st most commonly used programming language, it is used by 0.59% of developers according to the same survey.
Further, F# is loved by many developers than OCaml within their respective communities.
As of 2022, F# is loved by 60.96% of developers versus 39.04% of developers who dreaded it..
On the other hand, OCaml is loved by 46.92% of developers versus 53.08% of developers who dreaded it (Stack Overflow survey 2022).
Ultimately, if your choice of which programming language to learn depends on popularity, you should learn F#.
OCAML VS F# SALARY
Another popular criterion that many people use to compare programming languages and as an incentive to learn a new programming language is salary.
Salaries for developers differ from one company to the other and from one country to the other.
Experience is another factor that comes into play as far as salaries are concerned.
The more experience you have with a certain technology or programming language, the more likely you are of getting a higher salary.
Generally, F# developers get higher salaries than OCaml developers.
According to a Stack Overflow survey of top-paying programming languages, F# developers get an average salary of $95,526 per year.
On the other hand, OCaml developers get an average salary of $86,948 per year, about $8,500 less than F# developers.
So, if the salary is your major incentive for learning a programming language, you should learn F# over OCaml.
You are more likely to get a higher salary as an F# developer than as an OCaml developer.
OCAML VS F# WHICH ONE IS EASY
Both F# and OCaml are functional programming languages known for their expressive and powerful features. Generally, F# is easier than OCaml.
OCaml and F# have similar syntax, as F# was heavily influenced by OCaml. Both languages use functional programming constructs, but F# also incorporates object-oriented programming.
Some developers find F#’s syntax more approachable and familiar if they have a background in C# or other languages from the .NET ecosystem.
F# has strong integration with the .NET ecosystem, including seamless interoperability with existing .NET libraries and frameworks.
This can be advantageous for developers who are already familiar with the .NET platform or are interested in leveraging existing .NET resources.
OCaml also has a gradual learning curve and is often considered a good starting point for learning functional programming.
The good news is that there are plenty of helpful resources for both F# and OCaml to help you learn the languages.
The F# and OCaml communities are very active and helpful, in case you get stuck with something.
OCAML VS F# FEATURES AND APPLICATIONS
OCaml provides interoperability with C through its Foreign Function Interface (FFI).
This feature allows you to call C functions directly from OCaml and vice versa, enabling integration with existing C libraries and systems.
OCaml is known for its efficient native code compilation through an optimizing native code compiler.
It can produce highly optimized machine code, making it suitable for performance-critical applications.
OCaml also has the bytecode compiler which supports operation on any 32- or 64-bit architecture when native code generation is not available.
Other amazing features of OCaml include pattern matching, automatic garbage collection, profile to measure performance, Algebraic data types, immutable programming, and more.
OCaml is used by many companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Docker, Ahref, Bloomberg, Jane Streen, LexiFi, ReScript, 4Sigma, BeSport, CacaoWeb, CryptoSense, Dassault Systeme, Medit, Nomadic Labs, Shiro Games, XenServer, and many others.
F# benefits from being a part of the .NET ecosystem. F# is part of the .NET ecosystem and enjoys seamless interoperability with other .NET languages such as C# and VB.NET.
You can easily use existing .NET libraries and frameworks in your F# projects and vice versa, allowing you to leverage the vast array of resources available on the .NET platform.
F# supports immutability, higher-order functions, pattern matching, and other functional constructs, making it easier to write concise and expressive code.
These features, among others, contribute to F#’s reputation as a productive and versatile programming language, suitable for a wide range of applications, including web development, data processing, scientific computing, and more.
F# is used by many companies such as Microsoft, Kaggle, Insurello, Credit Suisse, Grange Insurance, Trafigura, Eurostocks.com, Amyris Biotechnology, Walmart, Dell, Olo, Pluralsight, and many others.
OCAML VS F# PERFORMANCE
OCaml offers great runtime performance without compromising on developer experience.
The bytecode compiler generates small, highly portable executables blazingly fast; the native code compiler produces highly-efficient machine code.
OCaml has a reputation for having efficient native code compilation. It’s compiler produces highly optimized machine code, allowing OCaml programs to run quickly.
OCaml’s emphasis on imperative programming and mutability (although immutability is the default) can also contribute to its potential performance advantage in certain scenarios.
On the other hand, F# leverages the .NET runtime, which provides its own set of performance optimizations.
The .NET runtime, including the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler and runtime optimizations, can optimize F# code during execution, which can improve performance in certain situations.
Additionally, F# benefits from the vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks available on the .NET platform, which can enhance productivity and performance through code reuse and performance optimizations provided by those libraries.
SHOULD I LEARN F# OR OCAML
Once you have compared the languages and evaluated all the factors, you can choose which programming language to learn or use depending on the factors that are on your side and what you want to build.
If you are interested in web applications, systems programming, fintech, static analysis, and automation tools, you should learn OCaml.
If you are interested in web development, data science, desktop applications, cloud programming, mobile app development, and potentially earning a high salary, you should learn F#.