As this edition goes to press, we learn that Norman Thomson, who has been a regular contributor to Vector through his J-ottings articles, is about to publish a book with the above title, which should be available at or shortly after the time of APL2001.
There are four parts to the book. The first part aims to present a gentle but persuasive lead-in to the serious scientific reader, and make the case for why he/she should adopt J as a basis for solving computational problems. The emphasis in this part is on parts of speech and the relationships with how these are used in natural languages, leading on to the importance of the various forms of composition. The second part, Advanced J, carries on from there, and is intended for those who have started in J but would like both to feel more secure in it, and also better able to take advantage of the full range of facilities. Separate chapters are devoted to control words, gerunds and their application, and to the foreign, the dot, power conjunction and rank conjunctions.
The final two parts are addressed to the two broad classes of people for whom J offers both practical advantages and appeal, namely those who carry out data manipulation and those who apply mathematics. The chapter headings in part 3, which is called Data Processing with J, are Selection, Data Structuring, Ranking and ordering, Searching, finding and updating, Partitioning, Opposites (that is inverse, obverse, etc.), and Programming Principles. Those in part 4, Mathematics with J, are Complex Numbers, Number bases and Polynomials, Series, Calculus and the D adverb, Numerical Analysis, Randomness, Permutations and Combinations, Groups and Symmetries, and Logic.
Each chapter concludes with a set of examples to which full solutions are given, and those phrases in the text and exercises which have possible general usefulness are consolidated in an Appendix. While this is a beginners book in the sense that is intended to try and attract the attention of those of scientific or mathematical inclination but with no prior J knowledge, it is by no means a “dummies” book, since it also aims to demonstrate how quickly progress can be towards achieving significant computations through the variety and richness of the high quality algorithms which are provided in the J interpreters. The publishers are Research Studies Press who recently formed an association with American Technical Publishers Ltd. RSP specialise in producing academic and professional monographs in growing areas of science, technology and computing, and it is hoped through this publication in one of their series, J may achieve wider recognition in the scientific community as a versatile tool for personal computing.
A full review will appear in the next edition of Vector.