On 1/14/21 6:42 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk wrote:
APL was terse.
You could do amazing things with very short source code.
Extremely well suited for scientific programming.
(I used it on a timesharing terminal at Goddard Space Flight Center half
a century ago)
It had a lot of operators.? So much so that it had to expand the
character set.? Typically, it was used on a Selectric based terminal,
with a special type-ball, and added labels pasted on the keys.
Unlike English based languages, such as FORTRAN or COBOL, anybody other
than an APL programmer could not even guess what a line of APL did.
APL was difficult for those used to traditional programming languages,
not primarily because of the character set, but because it's basically a
vector/matrix programming language.
It's a different world from BASIC, for sure.
Neil maintained that its strength lay in thinking about things in a
non-scalar way. I'll give him that--programming on STAR, where a scalar
was treated by the hardware as a vector of length 1 (and thus very slow
because of startup overhead) certainly led you toward thinking about
things in vector operations, just like APL.
Here's the APL*STAR reference manual: