Overview of A
Structure of Data
Relation to other APLs
System Fns and Vars
Where do we go from here?
Completing the Conversion
Some of the 'standard' contexts from the Unix build (like sys.) are missing completely, and some of the system functions (format and string-replace) are also not available in the Windows version. These have Unix dependencies which we will need to investigate and see how practical (or desirable) it is to include them in the Windows build next time around.
A Basic Session and Editor
Of course you can't really do much with the console you have now - it is just a DOS box so you can't even set the font for it. The code-editor can grow a very few features and allow you to choose and save colour schemes without too much work, then I think we leave it alone. The console must vanish in favour of a simple A+ session with a proper font, APL keyboard support and some basics like being able to cursor up and recall prior lines. This means putting the interpreter into a DLL and shaking off the remaining Unix dependencies. If the BAA chooses to fund another phase of the project, this is what we plan to attack next.
An Experimenting Environment - Ideas Welcome
One of the best ideas I ever saw was Ian Clark's APLomb environment for the Mac. It never made it commercially, partly because the Mac ceased to be the machine of choice for the majority of schools. Never mind - visually and intellectually it got a lot of things right and it is probably a good start point. A+ already has dependencies and callbacks which is most of what Ian was having to build for himself - I think a careful read through the APLomb manual would be an essential start here.
Integration with other Windows tools is probably a better (and cheaper) road than attempting to make A+ do everything itself. Can we easily call it from Excel? If we make it a COM object, then almost certainly, but who can help to set up some neat demos! Should it read and parse CSV files 'out of the box' like K does?
Quibbles and Supporting Materials
I have made a start by listing the few things I have tripped over since I had an A+ interpreter to play with. Doubtless there is a lot more to be said here, but please remember that there is a whole planet-load of intelligent beings out there who have never heard of APL. It is 20 years since APL was routinely part of the maths/science curriculum in our universities so no-one who matters really remembers it! Try and suspend your APL/J/K prejudices for long enough to be able to criticise this thing for what it is, not for the fact that it is not APL!
Feedback and ideas on useful APL/J material will be included on these pages as it comes in. Please play and report back.
© British APL Association 2001
Please send any comments to Adrian Smith via firstname.lastname@example.org - thank you.