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The APL Programming Language

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APL stands for "A Programming Language." It was created in the 1960's by Ken Iverson and his colleagues at IBM. Mathematically inspired, its main purpose was to serve as a powerful executable notation for mathematical algorithms. What APL is best known for is its use of non-ASCII symbols, including some Greek letters. It is a dynamically typed interactive, array oriented language with a dynamic scope. In APL, all expressions are evaluated from right to left.

Significant Language Features

  • Non-Standard Character Set - APL makes use of a character set which contains some non-ASCII characters, including some Greek letters.
  • Dynamic Array Universe - APL's environment consists of arrays, created dynamically.
  • Interaction - APL is an interactive language.

Areas of Application:

  • Mathematical Algorithms
  • Statistics

Sample Program:

Source Code:
@ This program is very simple in APL!

'Hello World!'

@ In APL, anything that is printed in quotes is printed to the terminal. (@ in APL signifies a comment)

@ If the "Hello World statement needed to be stored, then you could use the following :
h<-'Hello World'
h

@Typing h causes h's value to be printed to be printed.
This program was tested and run using an APL*PLUS compiler from Freeware. As anyone who studies computer science knows, the first program that you usually see when studying a new language is the Hello World! Program. This program demonstrates the text output function of the APL language by displaying the message "Hello world!".

 

 

 

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