While at Software Passion Summit, K Scott continues a series of lightning round interviews with Morten Kromberg, discussing APL.

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Herding Code 140 – Lightning Round with Morten Kromberg

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Show Notes:

  • Morten describes the history and purpose of APL.
    • Did you know that APL stands for "A Programming Language"?
    • The first book about APL was written in 1962. It’s as old as COBOL and FORTRAN.
    • APL was first written as a mathematical notation, and was used in teaching for 4 years before an interpreter was even written.
  • It’s a dynamic, interpreted language, and it encourages a functional style. Dyalog APL, which branched off about 30 years ago, is even more functional.
  • People are still developing with APL, especially within the financial sector.
  • Morten’s company makes APL interpreters.
  • K Scott asks about the ability to work with APL from .NET. Morten says that, while it’s not a managed language, they have full interop so you can both create .NET classes in APL and consume them. You can use the GUI features in Dyalog APL, or you can interop with Windows / .NET GUI’s, and it can even be used as an ASP.NET scripting language.
  • K Scott asks why such an interesting language that’s been around for so long isn’t well known. Morten speculates on some reasons and talks about why he thinks it’s seeing a resurgence.
  • Morten and K Scott talk about some of the examples which really show off the language, such as a one line implementation of Conway’s Game Of Life.
  • Morten talks about how APL sees matrices as a fundamental concept, expressing them at a level higher than objects.
  • APL is a very agile language, as it encourages direct interaction from domain experts.
  • Morten recommends http://tryapl.org, an interactive website where you can learn more about APL.
  • That’s it! Scott runs off to tackle some more lightning round interviews.

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