What is APL in 2020?

We will prepare, organise, host and summarise a series of open forums to discuss the future directions of APL. APL2010 offers the opportunity for APLers worldwide to gather and exchange views - our aim is to catalyse these discussions, make participation more active than has sometimes been the case, and establish a snapshot of the views and interests of the APL community as it exists in 2010. Using this as a launchpad into the future.

The emphasis will be on identifying the interests and requirements of people and organisations who are building solutions based on array processing languages, especially improving the development process and building bridges to other software, focussing very much on APL as a future-oriented technology.

Before the conference we will be initiating discussions through frequent posts to on-line discussion groups, encouraging and collecting as wide a range of opinion as possible.

The discussion sites will include comp.lang.apl, vendor forums and APL related groups on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and FaceBook.

The sorts of topics on which we will encourage the APL community to offer its disparate and collective views include:

  1. What comes after object-orientation?
  2. Does APL need data types and structures beyond what we have now?
  3. Should APL consciously mimic other programming languages and their development methodologies/environments?
  4. What are the prospects for more vendor-independent language extensions?
  5. Why are archaisms like bracket-indexing so entrenched, and when can we retire them?
  6. Why have we never been able to build software libraries, and should we try to?

As discussions develop more topics may be introduced, while those that provoke less response will get less emphasis.

We have set up a website (aplin2020.org) on which we will collect and publish all contributions before the conference so that delegates at APL2010 can assess the views of APLers worldwide and prepare for stimulating discussions.

The conference forums will consist of panels of highly experienced APLers who will summarise the on-line discussions, expound their own views and encourage the conference participants to develop and synthesize some consensus on what form (or forms) APL should take looking forward to 2020. The panellists are yet to be identified, but will be drawn from the worldwide APLing population and most likely will include the liveliest contributors to the pre-conference discussions.

Within three months after APL2010 we will collate all the material gathered and publish it along with a summary at aplin2020.org - to leave at the very least a time capsule of the interests and views of the APL development community as it stood in 2010.