APL\3000 – HP Journal – July 1977 [pdf]


75 points | by i_don_t_know 220 days ago


  • drallison 220 days ago

    Those interested in the history of APL\3000 may find http://infohost.nmt.edu/~shipman/write/memoirs/apl.html interesting.

    • i_don_t_know 220 days ago

      The issue contains a lot of interesting information about the APL\3000 system, in particular, tricks used in the implementation.

      A complete list of issues of the hp journal is available at:


      • pjmlp 220 days ago

        Thanks for pointing it out.

        It is a gold mine of systems programming languages articles, in a world where C wasn't yet something that actually mattered.

      • CommieBobDole 220 days ago

        Looks like the author of this, Ken Van Bree is still around; he left Agilent in 2003 to start a construction imaging software business. Just did a presentation at the SPAR3D conference last month.


        • jxy 220 days ago

          It's amazing how much a few KB of memory could achieve then. APL may perform extremely well on phones and watches nowadays. I can't believe no one is doing it.

          I have J on my phone, and it works well as an advanced programmable calculator.

          • leephillips 220 days ago

            Got to love Fig. 2. APL was the first language I learned, in 1976. When I was in the position to have to use Fortran, I was horrified. I have to write loops for everything?! But nowadays, I think array Fortran is quite nice.

            • 3rdAccount 220 days ago

              Because you at least don't have to write classes for everything? :)

            • glhaynes 220 days ago

              Slashes and backslashes got pretty wild in the '70s and '80s.

              • rbanffy 220 days ago

                There were lots of jokes about OS/2 being just half an OS.

              • mchahn 217 days ago

                In the first paragraph" "..its ease of programming and debugging."

                APL is one of the most unapproachable languages I every learned.

                • agumonkey 220 days ago

                  that cover page is so damn glorious..

                  and fig 2 / page 5 is epic

                  • unixhero 220 days ago

                    mmm dat keyboard

                    • rbanffy 220 days ago

                      It was good, but the IBM beam spring ones were better. They still beat anything else, before or since.

                      I've played with J, but APL, with the symbols, feels nicer.

                      Even though it's almost impossible to dictate code to someone when pair programming.

                      • Fellshard 220 days ago

                        There's a few videos on YouTube of someone demoing APL in a modern context, and dictating the meaning of the symbols aloud; it felt strangely cryptic, but I'm sure someone who's worked with APL for some time would probably be able to latch onto it okay.

                      • drallison 219 days ago

                        There are English names for all of the special APL symbols so speaking in APL was both possible and common.