Wednesday, January 17, 2007

APopLectic about APL?

Conway's Game of Life in one line of APL
APL, now there's a programming language! None of this verbose stuff, such as Java or C# or VB .NET with their hundreds of lines of code thousands upon thousands of classes and interfaces. Just a small number of special symbols to learn, and you can solve all the problems of the known universe with APL ...

Some people get quite upset, even enraged, about using APL as a "data processing" and I can understand that, but I'm not one of them. Nor am I an APL practitioner, just an admirer.

David Yee, fellow ex-IBMer down here in Melbourne (Australia) in the "good old days" during the 1970s/1980s used to be a devotee of APL, and wrote some amazing programs. I well remember a Solitaire game that he coded in just a few lines of APL.

These thoughts flooded back to me when I read Jonathan Erickson's recent editorial over at Dr Dobb's Portal: APLs and Oranges

And this led me to take a glance at Michael Gertelman's Conway's Game of Life in one line of APL which will give you a feel for the language if you've never been exposed to it before. Here's the code, again:

Conway's Game of Life in one line of APL
Read Michael's article to understand what this code is doing and thereby get a feel for the power of APL.

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