APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection. It is the language of the future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation of coding bums. - EWD498 - How do we tell truths that might hurt?
I thought that programmers should not be puzzle-minded, which was one of the criteria on which IBM selected programmers. We would be much better served by clean, systematic minds, with a sense of elegance. And APL, with its one-liners, went in the other direction. I have been exposed to more APL than I’d like because Alan Perlis had an APL period. I think he outgrew it before his death, but for many years APL was “it.” - CACM Interview 2001
I was at a meeting in Newcastle, England, where I’d been invited to give a talk, as had Don Knuth of Stanford, Ken Iverson from IBM, and a few others as well. I was sitting in the audience sandwiched between two very esteemed people in computer science and computing — Fritz Bauer, who runs computing in Bavaria from his headquarters in Munich, and Edsger Dijkstra, who runs computing all over the world from his headquarters in Holland.
"Edsger Dijkstra, who runs computing all over the world from his headquarters in Holland."というのはなんだかBond villainっぽくていい感じではある。
Bauer, on my left, ... muttered under his breath to me, in words I will never forget, “As long as I am alive, APL will never be used in Munich.” And Dijkstra, who was sitting on my other side, leaned toward Bauer and said, “Nor in Holland.”
...we’ve got to get BASIC out of the public school system. BASIC is really harmful for young people. It’s all right for old-timers. But for young people in the 11th and 12th grades of high school, in junior colleges, and in universities, the belief that by writing BASIC programs they are appreciating the beauty of programming at the exercise level that they do, and can do, in the amount of time available to them — that idea is pernicious. It is very dangerous, to boot. We are creating a set of semiliterates...
It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. - EWD498 - How do we tell truths that might hurt?
If Shakespeare were alive today, he’d be a programmer, and he’d be writing one-liners in APL.
Some years back, we had a visit at Carnegie from a person at MIT whose name I’ve forgotten. He started to give us a lecture in a little office about some programming issues in LISP. He went up to the blackboard and he spoke LISP. Everything he wanted to describe, he described in terms of parentheses and CONS and CARS and CDRS. He found himself quite capable of expressing his ideas in the language in which he programmed. Not once during the half hour or so that he lectured to us did I see the inevitable block diagram, the flow charts that show up on the blackboard with things written in semi-English. He didn’t need them. And at the time I said to myself, ”LISP has a very precious character, if indeed there are some people who can express programming ideas to other people in the language in which they program.” I can’t do that with ALGOL; never have I been able to do it with ALGOL.
...programming, by its very nature, is a kind of bootstrapping activity. What Iverson and God give you today, you’ll find insufficient tomorrow.
And it certainly shouldn’t be a goal of people who use APL to stand forth and say, “Why do you jackasses use these inferior linguistic vehicles when we have something here that’s so precious, so elegant, which gives me so much pleasure? How can you be so blind and so foolish?” That debate you’ll never win, and I don’t think you ought to try.