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Vol.26 No.4

Vol.26 No.4


© 1984-2024
British APL Association
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Archive articles posted online on request: ask the archivist.


Volume 21, No.4

Discover, Learn, Profit

The BAA’s mission is to promote the use of the APLs. This has two parts: to serve APL programmers, and to introduce APL to others.

Printing Vector for the last twenty years has addressed the first part, though I see plenty more to do for working programmers – we publish so little on APL2, for example. But it does little to introduce APL to outsiders.

If you’ve used the Web to explore a new programming language in the last few years, you will have had an experience hard to match with APL. Languages and technologies such as JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, ASP.NET and MySQL offer online reference material, tutorials and user forums. In our world, Jsoftware has for some time had the best and most active of these but until the recent appearance of its excellent new site (, wiki and forums, little could be viewed or googled through the Web. (Congratulations to Eric Iverson and Chris Burke for an excellent production.)

Vector now gives priority to publishing online. This is the first issue to appear simultaneously in print and online. We are steadily bringing our twenty-year archive on line.

This issue is also the first to follow the structure of Vector Online. In place of the division between ‘technical’ and ‘general’ articles, we offer sections Discover, Learn and Profit.

  • Discover is about the APLs, possible extensions to them, their history and their relationships with other programming languages;
  • Learn is about extending our competence, for new and experienced programmers both;
  • Profit is about profiting from the use of APLs, either commercially, academically, or simply in pursuit of a hobby.

Gene McDonnell’s “At Play With J”, which would usually appear in Learn, appears this issue in Discover, as Gene reports the results of a programming competition. Successful entries for the competition ran up to 100 lines long; Metlov’s J entry runs to 6 characters. Hello?

Sudoku madness Do programmers solve Sudoku problems — or just write programs that do? The Sudoku craze has provoked our readers to offer general solutions; two in Dyalog APL and a characteristically terse J program from Roger Hui. We doubt even their authors intended to profit from them by using them to solve Sudoku problems; so we’re offering them as examples to learn from. We can all profit by studying them.

Stephen Taylor

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