APL Quote Quad

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This article is about the publication. For the APL glyph, see Quad name.

The ACM SIGAPL APL Quote Quad, formerly APL Quote-Quad, was an APL newsletter published by SIGAPL, part of the Association for Computing Machinery. Started as SHARE*APL\360 by its initial editor and distributor, Garth Foster, Quote Quad was the foremost source for news about APL during its early development as a programming language. Proceedings from most APL conferences were issued by Quote Quad. Quote Quad and the APL conference gradually became less prominent in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Vector journal took on the role of primary APL publication. The last issue of Quote Quad was volume 35, issue 4 in December 2007.

The APL Quote Quad is named after the glyph Quote Quad, , which can be used to print text to the session. For this reason its name is sometimes written as simply "⍞". When Garth Foster chose this name the glyph was called "quad quote" and he reversed it to make sure the name was unique.[1] However, because of the publication's influence, the name "Quote Quad" has become the most common name for the glyph.


Newcomers to the APL community may not realize that APL Quote-Quad predates the formation of any recognized or "organized" APL user group in the computing world at large.[2]

In 1968, the source code of IBM's APL\360 was released as a Type-III Library and added to SHARE library, and an APL Committee was formed as part of SHARE's Interactive Systems Project. At a SHARE meeting in 1969, Garth Foster volunteered as editor for a new APL newsletter, titled SHARE*APL\360. Much like the name APL\360 plays with the name Expand for \ ("APL expands the IBM/360"), the name SHARE*APL\360 was inspired by the name Power for *: "raising SHARE to the power of APL\360". The first issue of the newletter was printed in April 1969[3], with 35 copies distributed. Its distribution was widened following the first APL conference in 1969, which also provided Foster with an indication that programmers of machines other than the System/360, and indeed of machines not from IBM, would also be interested in news about APL. Issue number 4, in January 1970, was titled APL Quote-Quad.[4]

The first ACM-affiliated Quote-Quad publication was a reprint of volume 2, number 2, in the September 1970 issue of SIGPLAN Notices (the original had been published by Foster in July 1970).[5] The reprint followed a request from the APL community for a Special Interest Group for APL (SIGAPL) to be formed under the ACM, which was denied on the basis that SIGPLAN, a special interest group for all programming languages, already existed. This process ended after Quote Quad volume 3 number 4 (February 1972; reprinted in April[6]), which made up the majority of that issue of the Notices.[4] Foster continued distribution; between 400 and 500 copies of volume 3 number 5 were issued.[2]

In 1973, the organization now known as SIGAPL was formed as a SIGPLAN Technical Committee, called STAPL. It began publishing the Quote Quad as a membership benefit with volume 4, in 1973.

External links


  1. Polivka, Ray and Jon McGrew. "A Quote Quad Interview: Garth Foster". Quote Quad Volume 26 Number 1. 1995-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Arlene Azzarello. APL QUOTE-QUAD: The Early Years introduction. 1982-11.
  3. APL Press. APL QUOTE-QUAD: The Early Years. 1982-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Foster, Garth. "The APL user community - its roots" at IPSA '80.
  5. ACM SIGPLAN Notices Volume 5, Issue 9. 1970-09.
  6. ACM SIGPLAN Notices Volume 7, Issue 4. 1972-04.

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