The First Language to Support Generics

I saw this article this morning, and there was a comment [1] challenging F#'s claim "to be the first .NET language to support generics". Eric stated:

This is pure bollocks. Eiffel has generics and was ported to .Net long before F# even saw daylight.

I think there's a technical point here that needs clarification. Eric is correct that Eiffel was ported to .NET before F# was even on the scenes, and since Eiffel supports the notion of generics, they had to support it in their compiler. What I think is missing here is that Eiffel needed to do this over the runtime as the CLR didn't support generics until 2.0. Since Don Syme worked on adding generics to .NET and he's the primary force behind F#, it makes sense that CLR-based generics were added to F# before C# and VB had them baked in.

[1] I would've added a comment to InfoQ's site, but they require registration and I refuse to do that. Of course, comments on my site are currently closed but I'll get around to fixing that shortly!

* Posted at 01.10.2007 08:25:12 AM CST | Link *

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