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APL\3000 – HP Journal – July 1977 [pdf] (hp.com)
75 points by i_don_t_know 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

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

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:


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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

that cover page is so damn glorious..

and fig 2 / page 5 is epic

mmm dat keyboard

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.

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.

Ahh, to clarify: Not the keyboard, but the language itself, live-coding some things.

His keyboard reviews are awesome. It's keyboard porn.

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

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