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Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?

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  • Subject: [mg88147] Re: Wolfram User Interface Research?
  • From: Luci Ellis <luci at>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 03:44:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <fuhfdc$ihb$> <fuhrka$s88$> <> <fukeo8$s2j$> <fumqu8$sd1$>

On 23/04/08 10:10 AM, in article fumqu8$sd1$1 at, "AES"

<siegman at> wrote:

> In article <fukeo8$s2j$1 at>,

>  Murray Eisenberg <murray at> wrote:


>> This comment about APL is quite wrong: nothing "compelled you" to write

>> "inscrutable single line programs" (except maybe in the earliest days,

>> when one was sending single lines over a telephone line to a mainframe,

>> then waiting for your instruction's turn to get its slice of time and

>> have the result sent back and typed at your terminal).


>> With APL then, and with IBM's APL2 now, you MAY, if you wish, write

>> overly condensed one-liners.  And indeed some APL programmers aimed to

>> write as concise a program, all in one line, as they could possibly do.


>       I'll totally concede your point here.  But I don't think it makes

>       my original comment "quite wrong", or even wrong at all.


>       And I'm not attacking APL at all -- a great (if arcane)

>       intellectual achievement in computer science, and maybe

>       a great (if still arcane) tool for certain types of computation.


>       But nonetheless, the arcane symbolic notation used in APL

>       tends to make even multi-line APL programs nearly as

>       inscrutable for all but APL experts.



>> What's more, many of the combinations of symbols in APL were instantly

>> recongnizable to any APL programmer as so-called "idioms".


>       Again, happy to agree.  But, there aren't really a lot of

>       "APL programmers" around, right? -- and I'd bet that

>       they tend to be "programmers" employed as such, rather

>       than "ordinary users" from many other fields, who just

>       want to be get some computational task done in the

>       field where their skills primarily lie.

<much other interesting APL discussion snipped>

For what it's worth, I've recently been re-implementing the functionality of

our in-house APL application into Mathematica. My colleagues don't know I've

done this yet -- it's been a home project to get to know the new date and

time functionality in v6 better. (I don't actually know APL, but their

documentation is pretty thorough.)

It will be interesting to see which language produces the longer program.



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