The .NET ecosystem has incredible breadth—by enabling you to run .NET code on various platforms, like on the Internet via Silverlight, or on mobile devices with the Compact Framework. It also has incredible depth—by having a wealth of powerful libraries, from visualization, to communications, to databases, and so on.
This appendix will provide a quick overview of some existing .NET libraries so you can transition from the sample applications in this book to real-world problem solving. The APIs covered will be divided into three main areas: visualization, data processing, and storing data. We’ll end with a quick look at the F# library, including the F# PowerPack.
F# is a great tool for processing raw data, but visualizing that data doesn’t need to be constrained to just the command line.
There are two main visualization APIs available for .NET: Windows Forms (WinForms) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). WinForms is the older of the two and is an object-oriented wrapper on top of core Windows APIs. With WinForms it is easy to create a functional UI with buttons and common controls, but it can be difficult to create a rich and dynamic interface. WPF on the other hand is a much more design-centric library that allows for sophisticated interfaces at the cost of added complexity and a steeper learning curve.
F# doesn’t support code generation, so you cannot use the WYSIWYG editors of Visual Studio. The examples you see in ...