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Volume 19, No.3

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Editorial: Vector 19:3

MicroAPL Ltd

When we launched APLX last year, we emphasized its unique cross-platform capability as the only APL interpreter to run on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. What’s more, the product was designed so that your APL code would work cross-platform, with not only the pure APL language but also the ŒWI windowing interface working in the same way under both environments. This applies to user-interface controls such as buttons, tree controls and even the RichEdit controls, and also to APL graphics using the ŒWI Draw method.

Well, the good cross-platform news just got better. The full windowing version of APLX is now also available for Linux, offering the same advanced APL development environment which our Windows and Mac products offer. And once again, the full ŒWI environment is implemented, so that you can program the user-interface from APL on all three platforms, usually with little or no platform-specific code. This means that, with APLX, you can write a modern, user-friendly APL application which can be run under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP, MacOS 8.6, 9.x and 10.x, and now under the main Linux desktop distributions including RedHat, Debian, Mandrake and SuSe. Different platforms share the same workspace format, and of course component files can be shared across a heterogeneous network of APLX systems. Just )LOAD and go!

To help promote the wider adoption of APL, we are making the Desktop Edition of APLX for Linux available free of charge for personal use. You can download it from our website http://www.microapl.co.uk/apl. For commercial use, the product is priced at £499 (excluding UK Value Added Tax), the same price as the Windows and Macintosh versions. The Server Edition of APLX for Linux, which is designed for legacy and server applications, remains available as a separate product but now includes the Desktop Edition (for APL development) at no extra cost.

HMW Systems

To add to Olmec, Inca and Maya we are introducing Nazca (continuing the ancient American theme). Like our other products, it is an extension of the work we’ve been doing for the past 15 years on 4xtra (our dealing system product). This had to have a flexible, generalised database for static data (the parts of the database that don’t change too often, as opposed to the transactional data). The original system was developed before any of the now popular PC based databases had emerged on the DOS/Windows platform. Different banks wanted different tables, different interfaces, different - well just about everything. Not only that, we were concerned about performance, scalability and maintaining those early offerings. If we adopted one third party product, no doubt this would be “non-standard” in another institution and the thought of supporting local staff (who didn’t always speak perfect English) in a product they (and we) were not used to, or of maintaining different versions for different clients, has meant that we have continued with our own database to the present day.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t “head in the sand, APL only” stuff, nor are we seriously trying to challenge or convert the world of Oracle, Sybase,DB2, etc. The advantages are that we have full control over Nazca, it's fast, stable (In all it's years of use it has only ever corrupted one file – by writing back records in alphabetic sort order, not the original order and that was about fourteen years ago) and flexible – just drop a file in the designated directory & it will be picked up, you can specific fields in a header, or through the GUI, all you have to do is add validation from a table and you're up and running!

Enough about Nazca, I want to talk about something else.

We are adding a shopfront to our web site, to (we hope) sell a number of small products based on our “Meso” range (if I can call it that). Users will be able to download a runtime interpreter for free and then buy a product. We are still developing the first items, but have the infrastructure in place. My question is – is there anyone out there who has an application they want to sell? This would generate you a bit of extra income and, I imagine, help with your IR35 status (if you are in the UK). We would package it up with Installshield, add the product to the shop, and collect your fee for you. We would make your ownership of the product quite clear. For support, we can give you an email address (“jane.jones@4xtra.com”, actually we can give you that anyway) which would direct to your real address. You would also get a section on our web discussion board.

If anyone is interested in this idea, please contact me – chris.hogan@4xtra.com

Dyadic

Dyadic is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Pocket APL for the Pocket PC 2002 platform. Pocket APL is priced at only $39.99 and will initially be sold through Handango (http://www.handango.com) the leading supplier of PDA software.

Pocket APL has been in development for over two years and has involved a significant amount of effort from the Dyalog APL team; it represents a considerable investment. Our objectives are:

  • To introduce APL to a wider audience by providing a fully functional and complete implementation of a modern commercial APL at a very attractive price.
  • To develop the potential for APL as a concise and powerful application development tool for the PDA market. Dyadic believes that Pocket APL offers a tremendous opportunity for APL developers to create innovative, exciting and successful commercial applications for PDAs.

The text of our Pocket APL product announcement for Handango follows ...

Pocket APL is an extremely concise yet powerful programming language. Each of the built-in primitive functions is represented by a single symbol. This means that complex and powerful programs can be expressed in an astonishingly small amount of code. Large applications can therefore be written, edited and debugged within the limited amount of screen space available on the PDA. Consequently, Pocket APL is ideally suited for ad-hoc development tasks on a PDA, whether or not you are a desktop APL programmer.

Pocket APL is compatible with Dyalog APL on other platforms, so Dyalog APL applications designed primarily for desktop/laptop use may now be executed on a PDA. Dyalog APL developers and end-users may now take advantage of a PDA in situations where a desktop or laptop computer is unavailable or inappropriate.

Pocket APL supports the development of rich graphical user interface and provides over 60 object classes including the popular Dyalog APL Grid control. Also provided is a drag and drop tool for building screen layouts so that you can create attractive user-interfaces with little or no programming effort.

Pocket APL includes a purpose-built presentation graphics system for generating charts and business graphics that is suitable for a wide range of applications.

Dyadic expects Pocket APL to stimulate the development of new breed of applications for the PDA market. These applications will take advantage of the special characteristics of the APL programming language, that make APL so popular in the financial, statistical, forecasting, mathematical and modelling arenas. These features include very rapid application development (RAD), array handling, and exceptional computational speed.

Pocket APL contains all of the development features of Dyalog APL Version 10.0, including the same integrated development environment for creating, editing, and debugging APL programs. Workspaces and component files are fully compatible with Dyalog APL /W for Windows.

Special interfaces are provided to simplify the entry of APL expressions and for editing APL functions on a PDA.

Pocket APL automatically implements the appropriate appearance and behaviour for certain Windows controls, such as menu bars, that behave differently under Pocket PC 2002. Windows GUI applications will typically require modification to work well on the low-resolution screen, but will otherwise run unchanged.

Insight Systems ApS

The Vikings are Back!

Insight Systems is happy to announce that we have decided to hold a second “Viking APL Conference” on September 4th-6th 2003 (Thursday to Saturday, to allow cheap tickets and the option of Sunday in Copenhagen). The venue will be the same as for the first conference:

On the north coast of Zealand in Gilleleje, about 25km from Helsingør.

The details of the programme are not known at this time, but the focus will be on vendor workshops. Dyadic Systems has indicated that they will be come and give one or two workshops on “hot stuff”. We also expect to repeat the highly successful workshops on Axe Throwing and Beer Drinking (we’re working on getting the Kindergarden Teachers to repeat their parallel seminar to complete the Viking Experience).

Details will appear on the Insight Systems website: http://www.insight.dk.


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