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any APL fans?

 
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hi gang,

I'm not sure if this is the best forum, but...

Does anyone use APL for programming (as a hobby or -- can it be? -- professionally?)

I'd like to get back into it and am looking for an APL environment on Windows. My understanding is that there is a "Visual APL" but recently it seemed like the website wasn't allowing logins or something.

Any tips?

For newbies, if you want to learn a truly weird and terse language, APL is the King. It is the only language I know that uses non-ASCII characters regularly (Greek) and it is so terse that it makes Perl look like English.

thanks
Mike
 
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You mean Iverson's APL, with all the single character matrix inversion operands?

Wow, I remember getting pitched to use it back in 1969 or so, when folks used IBM Selectric 'terminals' at 135.4 baud (or some weird rate.)

I've always thought it was interesting, but sure looked like you'd generate Kleenex code: use once, throw it away.

I think serious work these days tends to use MatLab
 
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re: Iversion? Yep, that's it... He won a Turing award for his work, btw.

APL has always had, and continues to have, a small rabid community. Kinda like Smalltalk only even smaller. From my recent reading there is in fact some development being done (but certainly not much).

There was an article in DDJ recently about an APL version of Conway's Game of Life that is a one-liner. One can easily Google for an explanation that takes pages.

I wouldn't say it is like Kleenex but it is certainly true that the main appeal (IMHO) is for puzzle fans and for solving problems in a way that truly stretches one's neural network.

I'd like to get back into it but I just can't tell what people are using for an IDE. I may blog a "shout out" and see if I get any takers.

Mike
 
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I remember my company had a very few 327x terminals around with special keyboards and graphic cards. My Uncle used it at IBM and loved it. He talked about building a tiny chunk of working code, then growing it on both ends until it was a totally unintelligible one-line program. With a big grin.
 
Pat Farrell
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Originally posted by Stan James:
My Uncle used it at IBM and loved it. He talked about building a tiny chunk of working code, then growing it on both ends until it was a totally unintelligible one-line program. With a big grin.



Yes, the very definition of Kleenex code.

It was the first example of non-procedural code that I ever saw, and perhaps the best. It was about "invert this matrix" or "do a chain multiplication of this series of matrix" in a very elegant way.

I think, in addition to the unintelligible problem, the more fundamental problem was that it did a nice job of addressing problems that don't occur very often. In over 30 years of professional software development, I doubt if I've spent two weeks on matrix and linear algebra problems.
[ September 20, 2007: Message edited by: Pat Farrell ]
 
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There was an article in DDJ recently about an APL version of Conway's Game of Life that is a one-liner. One can easily Google for an explanation that takes pages.

I wrote one of those in about 1982. The basic "life cycle" was one line, but I supported it by a workspace full of example data so you could run the cycle on any of hundreds of pre-defined patterns (such as the famous glider-gun) and see it working.

I have all the code at home somewhere, backed up on punched paper tape!

I reckon the modern equivalent would have to be a one-line APL sudoku solver. I have seen a sudoku solver in APL but it looked a bit too procedural for my taste. The "matrix of possibilities" nature of sodoku seems a good fit for APLs multi-dimensional slicing and stuff.

Ah. happy memories.
 
Frank Carver
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For interest: Free APL Compilers and Interpreters And some more here
[ September 21, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Carver ]
 
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