Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Thu Jan 14 21:31:35 CST 2021

>> APL was terse.
On Fri, 15 Jan 2021, Mark Linimon wrote:
> That's a nice way of saying "It was a write-only language".
> Even back when my brain still worked 100% I could only remember what
> the code I had just written actually _did_ for 24-48 hours.  After
> that it was easier to rewrite from scratch.

It was, indeed, a "write-only language", although I didn't have difficulty 
reading my own code for a year.  Who else could read it?  Presumably 
Whereas, a COBOL or FORTRAN program is potentially readable by any COBOL 
or FORTRAN  programmer.

But, in calling it "terse", I also meant that the source code density was 
extraordinarily high.  Thousands of lines of other languages could be done 
in dozens of lines of APL, unlike the verbosity of other "high level 
languages".  Which, of course, substantially reinforced its opacity to any 
but the programmer.

But, when using it instead of a calculator for one-time processing 
(programs that were not intended to be reused in the future), 
nothing could compare for inverting a matrix, etc.
"I want you to give me a least squares curve fit of E Vs L for this subset 
of the data", . . .

'Course, when I questioned the use of two decimal digits for year in our 
datafiles (National Space Sciences Data Center, building 26 GSFC), I was 
assured that "NONE of what we do now has any possibility of being used 
again in 30 years!"  And, THAT was the true Y2K problem.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com

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