The Evolution of A Programming Language
APL has continuously evolved since its inception. Today, commercial and open-source versions of APL interpreters run across multiple operating systems, and the arrays at the core of APL mean that it is well suited to parallel computing.
APL programs can combine functional, procedural and object-oriented programming and can integrate with a large (and growing) number of third-party products.
The traditional interpreted approach can be supplemented with compilers for increased optimisation, and source code management systems/file systems enable code sharing across multiple users and locations.
APL development has always been iterative and incremental, decades before the birth of the Agile movement.
The core APL language was standardised in 1989; however, like many other programming languages, different vendors of APL interpreters have added their own extensions. Some of the main vendors supplying APL interpreters today include:
- APL2000 supply APL+
- Dyalog Ltd supply Dyalog APL
- IBM supply APL2
Open source offerings include:
- GNU APL
APL is concise due to its notation, and its syntax is simple and consistent. Comparing traditional mathematical notation with the equivalent APL notation:
Today APL is often employed when time-to-market is important or when systems change frequently and rapidly. Applications include trading systems, genotyping and expression profiling, modelling for insurance purposes, analysis of big data and the co-ordination of multiple individual healthcare systems across an entire country. APL is proving its value in these areas every day.