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Nial is an APL-family language being actively maintained and developed by John Gibbons. It uses the nested array model and closely follows APL-derived languages semantically, where it differs from tradition is with it's use of atlas[1], left to right evaluation, and usage of words for builtins and primitive functions.


[2] The Nial language was developed by Mike Jenkins and Trenchard More in a collaborative research project supported by Queen's University at Kingston and IBM Cambridge Scientific Center from 1979 to 1982. Mike's team at Queen's designed and implemented a portable C-based interpreter, Q'Nial that was initially released in 1983.

The language combines Trenchard More's theory of nested arrays with Mike's ideas on how to build an interactive programming system. The goal was to combine the strengths of APL array-based programming with implementation concepts borrowed from LISP, structured programming ideas from Algol, and functional programming concepts from FP. THe interpreter, originally developed for Unix, was small enough to run on the then newly released IBM PC and portable enough to execute on IBM mainframes computers.

Nial Systems limited licensed the interpreter from Queen's University and marketed it widely. Mike Jenkins continued to refine both the language and its implementation. In 2006 Mike released Version 6.3 as an open source project to encourage continued development of Nial.

In 2014 Mike started working with John Gibbons to develop a 64-bit version and to add capabilities that John needed for his work. The decision was made to target the open source for Unix-based platforms and release it on GitHub.

A new website for the QNial7 repository with documentation has been made in 2021. It is currently undergoing development.