Dyalog '10 was incorporated into APL 2010 LPA Berlin, a conference for all APL users and all APL and array-oriented user groups. This page lists only the Dyalog-specific content of this large ten-yearly gathering.

Dyalog Presentations

(P01) APL# – An APL for Microsoft .NET, Mono, Silverlight and Moonlight summary | materials
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO), John Scholes & Jonathan Manktelow

Microsoft .NET is a software platform which is based on a component that Microsoft has named the Common Language Runtime (CLR). As the name suggests, the CLR was designed in co-operation with a diverse group of language implementers, and the services that it provides are intended to be "language agnostic". The CLR provides an application virtual machine with memory management, exception handling and other services which significantly simplify the task of implementing new programming languages. It also facilitates communication between modules written in different languages by forcing everyone to use a single memory manager and type system.

The services provided by the CLR make it easy to implement a new programming language, and the ability to inter-operate with solutions written in other languages is very attractive to application developers. However, taking full advantage of the shared type system and related services which not only allows data to be exchanged between programming languages, but also allows the application stack to consist of functions written in different programming languages, forces us to abandon some of the most central dogma of "classic" APL interpreters:

  • The notion that APL only has two data types: numbers and characters
  • That arguments are always passed "by value"
  • User-defined names are global by default, and local variables are visible to all sub-functions

The paper discusses the design of APL# (pronounced APL Sharp), a new dialect of APL designed with object-oriented/language-agnostic platforms in mind, using Microsoft .NET as the initial target platform. Although portability of old APL code to APL# is an important consideration, the fact that complete upwards compatibility with "classic" APL is not achievable allowed us to make an attempt to tidy up a few other aspects of APL. The goal has been to produce a language which is as powerful a Tool of Thought as classic APL and APL2, at the same time as feeling significantly more acceptable to a software engineer.

(P02) Unifying Traditional Functions and Dfns in APL# summary | materials | video (59 mins)
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO), John Scholes & Jonathan Manktelow

APL systems provide a definition mechanism so that expressions may be collected into non-primitive or "user-defined" functions and operators: the traditional function or "T-Fn".

In 1996, Dyalog introduced a purer direct-definition style, now referred to as a "dfn", which was designed to fit better with the functional programming paradigm.

APL#, pronounced "APL Sharp", is a new dialect of APL, which is aimed at the Microsoft .NET and similar virtual machine frameworks.

This paper details an attempt, in Dyalog's APL# project, to combine both tradfn and dfn definition styles into a unified whole, which supports both the procedural and functional modes of programming.

(P03) Processing Text Using Regular Expressions summary | materials | video (45 mins)
Richard Smith, Development Manager

A fundamental component of scripting languages (Perl and Tel, for example) is the ability to search text using regular expressions – a means of describing complex patterns of characters within text. Although APL is traditionally used to process numeric data it also has the characteristics of a good scripting language, and current and future APL applications could benefit from the power and flexibility offered by support for regular expressions which is tightly integrated into the language.

This paper discusses the design decisions which led ultimately to the system operators which integrate regular expressions into Dyalog APL. With these, APL users can search text and make modifications, using either a simple expression or a powerful APL function to express the transformation.

(P07) Hashing for Tolerant Index-Of summary | materials
Roger Hui

We consider the problem of x⍳y where x and y are real (64-bit floats) or complex (64-bit floats of the real and imaginary parts), with tolerant comparison (nonzero ⎕CT). We show how to use hashing to solve the problem.

Hashing algorithms for real and complex arguments have been implemented in Dyalog v13.0. APL models and test cases are provided. Benchmarks demonstrate the improvement over the previous implementation.

(P11) Parallel Computation Using Peach, Prank and Pouter summary | materials
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO) & Michael Hughes (MJH Software)

One of the challenges currently facing software developers is to take advantage of the parallel hardware that is appearing not only in large data centres, but also on every desktop. In addition to the fine-grained parallelism provided by primitive functions which operate on large arrays without loops, APL language interpreters offer a number of "coarse-grained" parallel constructs, which allow multiple invocations of user-defined functions to be expressed. Three examples are each (¨), which is available in virtually all modern systems, rank (), implemented in SHARP APL and J, and the dot in Dyalog APL () which, when placed between an array of objects on the left and an expression on the right, applies the expression to its right to each of the objects on the left.

The paper describes a number of experimental user-defined operators named Peach, Prank, Pouter and Pdot, models of potential extensions to APL interpreters, which allow us to experiment with the performance characteristics of parallel execution using multiple cores in one or more co-operating machines.

(P18) Damage Resistant Component Files Using Journaling and Other Techniques summary | materials
Richard Smith, Development Manager

Dyalog component files are maintained by the interpreter using indices and other high-level structures within an underlying native file, which is often shared by many users on multi-user operating systems and networks. Each component file update (for example, ⎕FAPPEND or ⎕FREPLACE) requires a number of updates to different parts of this underlying file; once started, and until the process is complete, the file may be in an inconsistent state. The series of updates must appear to be atomic to other users and locks are used to ensure that files are not accessed by other users when the file state is inconsistent.

Component files have worked in this way – and generally served APL well – for many years. But many APL users have also experienced damaged component files – ones which are impossible to read or update, which crash the interpreter or, worst of all, present no ill effects but return corrupt values. Almost always the cause of such damage will have been the interruption of a file update (perhaps due to a kill signal to the application making the update or a network failure), leaving the file state inconsistent.

Dyalog APL has addressed this problem in two stages, resulting in component files which are highly robust and resilient to damage. The first stage protected the file from damage caused by interrupting an application during an update and introduced journaling to the process. The second stage dealt with the damage which results from the loss of file caches following a catastrophic event such as a power failure or operating system crash during an update and extended journaling to include cache flushing and checksums.

In addition to the technical details of component file structure, the critical points during an update sequence and the methods used by Dyalog to protect and repair files, this paper will also discuss migration of existing files and compatibility between Dyalog releases and consider the benefits of journaling versus the additional processing involved – so that the best journaling options may be selected for any particular application.

(P19) Supporting APL keyboards on Linux summary | materials
Geoff Streeter

All of the GUI interfaces for Linux are built on X-windows. X-windows is a client-server design. The screen-keyboard-mouse side is the server. Programs running on any machine use the services provided to receive input and draw output.

There is an extension to X-windows servers called xkb which provides additional keyboard support.

This paper describes how Dyalog have used this feature to implement an APL keyboard that overlays the original keyboard. Thanks to the widespread adoption of Unicode for encoding text – including APL symbols – the APL character set can now be entered into almost all applications, whether the underlying keyboard is U.S., Russian – or any other language.

(ST1) APL – why, when and where summary
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO)

In this presentation we look at the current trends in software development and how the rest of the software world is doing. Some areas where APL is particularly competitive are identified and a list of selling points for APL is presented.

(V11) Taking APL for a RIDE summary | video (54 mins)
John Daintree, Chief Architect

The Dyalog Remote Integrated Development Environment (RIDE) is a new graphical development environment for all versions of Dyalog APL on all platforms – from Windows Mobile to the largest AIX midframes (and, in the future, also the new APL# interpreter). The RIDE allows you to connect to a Dyalog session from almost any web browser on any client platform. The RIDE is a cornerstone of a strategy which is intended to take the portability of applications written in Dyalog APL to the next level.

(V12) Dyalog Technical Keynote summary
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO)

Morten will review Dyalog APL Version 13.0, which is about to enter Beta Test, and talk about APL#, the RIDE and the rest of Dyalog's Road Map for 2011 and beyond.

(V13) An interpreter for Vanilla Siteswap summary
Jay Foad

Jay is the newest arrival at Dyalog. He secured the job by juggling during the job interview, while talking us through C code which interpreted a "Domain Specific Notation" for juggling known as Vanilla Siteswap (with synchronous + multiplexing extensions). Jay will be presenting his new VS/ APL interpreter.

(V14) Your Application as an SQL Data Source summary
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO)

Dyalog has developed a prototype of a framework which allows your application to look, taste and smell like a relational database. The SQAPL Server allows reporting on live APL data and analytical output from tools like Microsoft Excel or – Access, Crystal Reports – and virtually any programming language – in fact, any client application which can use ODBC, JDBC, ADO or ADO.NET. The interface fully supports SQL, including database updates and inserts, your APL functions as "stored procedures" and creation/modification of tables (DDL statements) – and requires very little SQL expertise to set up.

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Invited Guest and User Presentations

(V16) Migrating SimCorp Dimension to Dyalog APL Unicode summary | video (57 mins)
Stig Nielsen (SimCorp A/S)

SimCorp Dimension is an integrated single database investment management system mainly coded in Dyalog APL, partly in C#. Due to market demands, the APL and database part of the system has been migrated to support Unicode. Stig will take you through the steps needed, and the pitfalls to be aware of, to get successfully through the migration process and finally release the product. The main challenge was to get all the interfaces to (for example) external C-libraries, third party products and general native file access issues. A general introduction to what Unicode is and why it is, or is not, the answer to all problems with multilingual challenges when it comes to sharing data will start the session.

(V17) Winning the Dyalog Programming Contest 2010 summary | video – winner (24 mins) | video – runner-up (16 mins)
Ryan Tarpine and Mstislav Elagin

Ryan is the winner of the Dyalog Programming Contest 2010. He is a 25-year-old PhD Candidate in Computer Science with a focus on computational biology from Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The runner-up in the contest is Mstislav, a 32-year old PhD student at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, who is currently developing an online monitoring and early warning system for financial markets. Ryan and Mstislav will speak about their experiences in learning APL – and using it to win prizes!

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Workshops and Tutorials

(TU3) User Commands in Dyalog APL summary
Dan Baronet

User commands (UCMDs) are similar to system commands, except that they are written in APL. They provide a way to make tools and utilities available at all times – without requiring them to be copied into the active workspace before use. The user command processor also provides a mechanism for on line help, and encourages developers of UCMDs to provide consistent behaviour across different commands.

Dyalog introduced user commands with version 12.1. In the Dyalog implementation, the source for a UCMD is a single Unicode text file, which means that UCMDs can very easily be shared. As soon as the text file defining a UCMD is copied into the UCMD folder, the user command can be called from the APL session – or invoked under program control. It is Dyalog's hope that the introduction of user commands will lead to much more widespread sharing of development tools in the APL community.

This tutorial will show how to create, debug and modify user commands and how to manage them. It will show how to deal with arguments, options and results. Several examples will be shown, from the very simple to the more complex.

(WS1) APL and Web Services – What is a Web Service? summary | materials | video (77 mins)
Brian Becker (Blue Dolphin Solutions)

The W3C defines a web service as "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network. It has an interface described in a machine-processable format (specifically Web Services Description Language WSDL). Other systems interact with the web service in a manner prescribed by its description using SOAP messages, typically conveyed using HTTP with an XML serialisation in conjunction with other web-related standards."

Web Services are modular – a Web Service is self-contained and self-describing. Everything necessary to invoke a Web Service and interpret its results is a part of the Web Service itself. Web Services are accessed via standard protocols – they can be accessed over the Internet or an intranet using a web browser or other client.

Web Services are platform independent – Web Service providers and requestors can communicate effectively without any knowledge of the platform that either is using.

Web Services share data, business logic or processes – Web Services can deliver a wide range of function from a very simple query/response service to very complicated business processes.

Introducing SAWS – the Stand Alone Web Service framework

SAWS is a tool developed for Dyalog APL version 12.1. SAWS makes it possible for APL programmers to integrate Web Services developed by others into their APL applications. SAWS also enables APL programmers to make the functionality of their applications available to others over the Internet. Best of all, SAWS accomplishes this without forcing the APL programmer to become an expert in the underlying protocols and technologies necessary to implement or use Web Services. SAWS can help transform your legacy APL application into a web-enabled service.

In this workshop we will:

  • Present a brief overview of Web Services and their underlying protocols
  • Learn how to call third-party Web Services to use their results in an APL application
  • Develop a simple web service using SAWS which can be invoked from SAWS, a web browser or other client

(WS2) Introduction to Dfns summary | video 1 (67 mins) | video 2 (34 mins)
John Scholes

Since their introduction in 1996, Dyalog's direct-definition functions (Dfns) have grown from an experimental toy to a notation used to implement large pieces of commercial software. Dfns are not only useful for expressing idioms, but also as a tool of thought for any problem that can benefit from a functional approach (and some would say that covers almost everything). Owing to their functional nature, Dfns also have greater potential for internal optimisation, including compilation – and have been selected as the foundation for the new function syntax in the APL# dialect.

The workshop will start with an easy introduction; discuss where the use of Dfns is appropriate; and finish with some fireworks.

(WS3) Windows Presentation Foundation summary | video (73 mins)
Morten Kromberg, Technical Director (CTO) & Michael Hughes (MJH Software)

Windows Presentation Foundation is a graphical subsystem for rendering user interfaces, originally developed for desktop applications built using the Microsoft .NET platform – but now also available for web and mobile applications under Windows, Linux, on the Apple Macintosh – and coming to mobile platforms. The workshop will demonstrate how WPF can be used from Dyalog APL and APL# to create desktop and web applications. Participants will leave the workshop with a working WPF application that can be used as a basis for further work with WPF.

(WS4) Using the Microsoft .NET Framework summary
John Daintree, Chief Architect

Dyalog integrates comfortably with the Microsoft .NET Framework. This course will give an overview of, and show how you can take advantage of, the features included in the Framework itself, and in Visual Studio, Microsoft's cross-language development platform. John will show you how to find and understand documentation of the framework class libraries, and he will introduce you to some of the most useful classes. We will explore how to use the VS Form Designer to build forms which use APL code, and write APL classes which can be used from C# and VB.NET. The course will very briefly show how to call APL code from Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

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Copyright and Trademarks

UNIX® is a registered trade mark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited.
Windows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.
Oracle® and Java™ are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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