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Friday Finking: Beyond implementing Unicode


On 13/06/20 5:11 AM, Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
> On Fri, 12 Jun 2020 18:03:55 +1200, DL Neil via Python-list
> <python-list at python.org> declaimed the following:
> 
>>
>> There is/was a language called "APL" (and yes the acronym means "A
>> Programming Language", and yes it started the craze, through "B" (and
>> BCPL), and yes, that brought us "C" - which you are more likely to have
>> heard about - and yes then there were DataSci folk, presumably more
>> numerate than literate, who thought the next letter to be "R". So, sad!?).
> 
> 	R was preceded by S http://www.unige.ch/ses/sococ/cl/r/srdiff.e.html
> https://cran.r-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html#What-are-the-differences-between-R-and-S_003f
> (which, with some scrolling, produces...

Oh dear, my sarcasm about being literately-challenged stands!


>> APL was hopelessly keyboard-unfriendly, requiring multiple key-presses
>> or 'over-typing' to produce those arithmetic-operator symbols -
> 
> 	Not with a Tektronix APL terminal, and Xerox CP/V APL <G>


Specific design-for-purpose - hardware/software integration!


>> remember, much of this was on mainframe 3270-style terminals, although
>> later PC-implementations have existed (I can't comment on how 'active'
>> any community might be). The over-typing was necessary to encode/produce
>> the APL symbols which don't exist on a standard typewriter keyboard. Ugh!
> 
> 	Many implementations also allowed for a spelled out version for special
> characters... $RHO for example, for the greek letter rho.

To which my first reaction was "ugh!". However, I often prefer to have a 
named constant in my Python code - instead of "magic numbers", eg

LINE_WIDTH = 79		# PEP-8 source-code characters per line


>> I'm glad to have limited my APL-exposure to only reading about it during
>> a 'Programming Languages' topic! (If you are 'into' functional
>> programming you may like to explore further)
> 
> 	I used it as a 3-credit independent study in my senior year (1980). All
> I was after was a passing grade to complete the credits for graduation. I'm
> slightly ashamed to admit that my fanciest program turned that Tektronix
> storage display tube terminal into a glorified Etch-a-Sketch (terminal had
> X/Y scroll wheels that the APL implementation could read).

Hey, at least you gained access. I think my uni (when I was an u/grad) 
only had one graphic terminal which was kept in the computer room and 
thus only staff had access.

Our introduction to graphics (using FORTRAN) had to be shown using 80x24 
character-based terminals (DEC VT-52s, from memory). Drawing shapes was 
bad-enough, but demonstrations of rotation and translation became the 
very definition of ugly!

I've been somewhat re-living those days, teaching myself how to play 
with Pygame (not a 'work' activity!), and learning how to move entities 
around on the screen (quite similar to HTML5, but sufficiently different 
to give pause). That said, the learning of such basic "building-blocks", 
four-plus decades ago, under-pins working in both/either/each, today!
-- 
Regards =dn