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Volume 17, No.2

Editorial

by Stefano Lanzavecchia (stf@apl.it)

“Tears are falling, tears of joy”
Depeche Mode – from Black Celebration

“Ne aishitara daremo ga
Konna kodoku ni naru no?”
from Escaflowne – Yakusoku Wa Iranai

Tears being shed, tears of joy. It feels like an ending. The euphoria in the comfortable air of the German night is not as contagious as it should be, according to the tacit rules of an official conference banquet. Somebody is trying to make a fool of himself with reasonable success. With the eyes closed, not only the buzz of the party, the explosions of laughter, the boast of a loud comment, the giggling, the hysteria of amusement reached the ears, but also the songs of the crickets in the park. An old castle, whose walls have silently watched hundreds, maybe thousands of parties. Or is it the voice of people trying to cancel their sorrows in the excitation of a glass of wine the real voice of the austere solid walls? On the morning after, the buzz remain in the ears, more like a bothering mosquito, while the fairy crickets sleep their rest. But now a bagpipe vibrates its minor harmonies like a cry, beating at the pulse of a large drum. The dancer moves and plays around the drone, followed by many eyes that dare graze her skin. Yet, another demoiselle’s eyes, blue and cold, are nonchalantly piercing the night. Shivers down the spine. One instant of universal silence. But the night is still young. The proud princess will fail to meet the fearful knight, who hides in the long shadows cast by the low lights, while history repeats itself.

You are going to read more and perhaps more sound reports than mine about the APL 2000 conference that took place in Berlin this summer, that’s why I’ll keep it short. But let me add a few comments. First of all, the vendors: all of them showed once again how active they are, and in particular Soliton and Dyadic. I would say that the highlight of the conference was when Pete Donnelly of Dyadic presented his slide with the title “Bill’s Telephone Call”. APL has made it in the list of the languages to support and be supported by Microsoft’s futuristic .NET (pronunciation: “dot net”) platform and Pete’s team will be responsible for this to happen. I will not try to hide my excitement about the platform itself and Dyadic’s commitment but since it’s a bit premature to talk about something that will not be available to the big public for at least another 18 months, I will not spend more time on this. Rest assured, though, that we will keep you informed about the development of .NET. As a sidenote, I am glad to inform you that in the editorial for the September issue of the Microsoft Developer’s Network magazine, APL was mentioned as being part of the background of the editor.

A few months ago I dismissed Sharp’s APL for Linux as a product arrived too late and with too little to be truly interesting. I was wrong (and am now sorry to have been wrong). Soliton’s presentations at the conference concentrated on their new interfaces with Java and Java’s GUI codenamed Swing and proved that Sharp APL is a viable alternative on non Microsoft platforms to other languages: soon it will be equipped with a slick and functional platform independent (as platform independent as Java can be) IDE and a powerful graphical interface to build modern applications. A little disappointing was the participation, or the lack thereof of J Software’s representative who seems to be more concentrated on their own conference (expect a report in a future issue of Vector) in Toronto, to be held in October. New array-oriented languages were introduced at the conference, like the interesting F-Script, derived from the object-oriented language Smalltalk, and this gives the impression that developers are beginning to realise that array paradigms can help solving a large class of problems. Personally I regret that the people behind Arthur Whitney’s K do not spread their verb at APL conferences: I am fascinated by the language, and, while the user interface is so rough to be almost frightening, the power and the expressiveness of the language is surprising.

To stimulate feedback from the K community I decided to improvise me K developer, and I propose a solution in K for Mr. Legrand’s puzzle, as far as I know, the only existing solution in K.


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