APL (programming language)

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APL (named after the book A Programming Language)[5] is an interactive array-oriented language and integrated development environment which is available from a number of commercial and non-commercial vendors[6] and for most computer platforms.[7] It is based on a mathematical notation developed by Kenneth E. Iverson.

APL has a combination of unique and relatively uncommon features that appeal to programmers and make it a productive programming language:[8]

  • It is concise, using symbols rather than words and applying functions to entire arrays without using explicit loops.
  • It is solution focused, emphasizing the expression of algorithms independently of machine architecture or operating system.
  • It has just one simple, consistent, and recursive precedence rule: the right argument of a function is the result of the entire expression to its right.
  • It facilitates problem solving at a high level of abstraction.

APL is used in scientific,[9] actuarial,[8] statistical,[10] and financial applications where it is used by practitioners for their own work and by programmers to develop commercial applications. It was an important influence on the development of spreadsheets, functional programming,[11] and computer math packages.[3] It has also inspired several other programming languages.[1][2][4] It is also associated with rapid and lightweight development projects in volatile business environments.[12]


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