Wikipedia APL page revamp
At the latest BAA London meeting we discussed improving the Wikipedia article on APL. We believe the present opening implies an article of primarily historical interest. After reviewing articles on Ruby, COBOL and PHP, we drafted a new one. We propose to move the present two opening paragraphs to the beginning of the History of APL section. Here they are.
APL (A Programming Language) is an array programming language based on a notation invented in 1957 by Kenneth E. Iverson while at Harvard University. It originated as an attempt to provide consistent notation for the teaching and analysis of topics related to the application of computers. Iverson published his notation in 1962 in a book titled A Programming Language. By 1965, a subset of the notation was implemented as a programming language, then known as IVSYS. Later, prior to its commercial release, APL got its name from the title of the book. Iverson received the Turing Award in 1979 for his work.
Iverson's notation was later used to describe the IBM System/360 machine architecture, a description much more concise and exact than the existing documentation and revealing several previously unnoticed problems. Later, a Selectric typeball was specially designed to write a linear representation of this notation. This distinctive aspect of APL, the use of a special character set visually depicting the operations to be performed, remains fundamentally unchanged today.
Goals for a new introduction
Before editing the Wikipedia page, we will refine our draft here, and collect citations for the facts presented.
Our goals in the opening are to
- identify features of the language that might attract new users of it
- identify aspects of APL development style that might attract sponsors of software projects
- establish that the language is in active use, with up-to-date interpreters
We must also meet two constraints: avoid contentious claims, and ensure what we say is verifiable. This means adding citations wherever we make a claim that can be challenged. Here is our first draft.
Please comment on it, add suggestions, criticise, but most importantly give us your knowledge. Where is there, for example, a published account that APL influenced the development of MatLab? Perhaps it didn't. Knowing it did isn't enough. Over to you. -- PhilLast 2009-07-24 21:18:17
Thanks to Melvin Cowznofski & John Scholes for citations so far.