APL'ers outside of this newsgroup 
Author Message
 APL'ers outside of this newsgroup


>Date: 7 Apr 94 09:00:34 GMT
>you can also find lots of useful code in the more 25 books related to
>Mathematica that have been published within the last 5 years [anyone seen
>an APL or J book in a bookstore recently?]

Actually, yes.  I bought a third edition of Gilman and Rose to
replace my dirtied, worn-out and lost second edition.  I also bought
some "typeset on a line printer"-style APL for advanced students
or some such.  [titles at home]  Both were on the shelf with a
third unremembered book at Computer Literacy in San Jose, California.
I didn't go looking for any books about J, so I didn't find any.

>finding an APL or J person outside of this group is almost (no, make that
>totally) impossible.

Certainly getting one to respond to discussions in a newsgroup that
he doesn't read would be near to impossible.  Now, if you had made
this statement last year, and if someone had let me know about it,
I could have refuted it, but since I'm the one who read the message,
I can't do that now.  Me?  I'm a recent returnee.  I learned APL\SV
at IBM-Owego [then FSD, now Loral/FSC or something like that] at
Explorer Post #76.  Once a week, we'd get two or so hours worth of
terminal time.  Seeing as to how it was my first programming
language, I have ended up with some strange concepts when I think
about number manipulation or just straight programming.  For some
reason back in March-February, I did an archie search for "apl"
and rediscovered the waterloo archives.  APL\11 plus the X font
file from times some hacking yielded a working apl interpreter.
What I'll do with it, I don't know, but at least I have one that
I may use when I want it.

>of course, this might not matter to you. i find professional isolation to
>be a bit stifling.

Not having an APL to play with combined with the lack of Math Team
[high school sport for nerds; second only to the "Physics Olympics"
at U of MD] was certainly an aid in muddying my brain.


>Date: 7 Apr 94 10:38:44 GMT
>I learned APL at a college freshman.  I learned it in the physics
>department (specifically, Vin Grannel).  Most of the professors,
>there, used APL.  I know other of these students have gone on to do
>graduate work in physics.

One of my college buddies spent a semester in the CS program at
Syracuse.  If I remember correctly, they taught APL and LISP in their
first-year computer science classes.  He just didn't "get it", so he
dropped out and ended up getting a degree in business [or accounting?].

>I think the problem has more to do with the lack of books presenting
>physics/engineering subjects using APL notation [...]

I think it has everything to do with people's resistance to "those
funny characters".  I'd had access to transliterated APL's for a long
time and frankly, it's not APL as I know it.  Perhaps if I had
persisted, I would have found that I could use a transliterated APL
as naturally as a regular one.

fortran had great success just because it was small and easy to "get one's
head around" it.  

APL, as we all know, has a big pile of idioms.  I, for one, accepted the
    Branch (Expression) Reduce Label
idiom without question when I first learned the language.  I think that
the large vocabulary is daunting to the beginner.  Combine that with
everyone assertion that "it's impossible to read, let alone debug, someone
else's APL code" and "APL is a write-only language" and you end up with
a language that people won't even try, much less take to.

For those of you who wish for good text manipulation, may I suggest
Icon?  If you haven't heard of it, you should take a look.  Very powerful
Son Of Snobol, written by Ralph Griswold and company. [ftp://cs.arizona.edu/]
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.

Sun, 06 Oct 1996 07:29:19 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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