The President's Message
by Tony Butka
Zdenek (Denny) Jizba and Gregory Smith stepped up to the plate in January with two solid presentations. Denny ran us through a very nice introduction to APL2, that seriously powerful object based programming language by IBM. And as he pointed out, you can get the basic version for OS/2 for about $130, while the Win version is more like $1000. Now that's the proper attitude, IBM! As Denny was demonstrating the very serious stuff that you can do with numbers of any type (wow mom, no loops), I was reminded of what Forth could have been if it had ever gone object oriented.
There is obviously a real learning curve here, but what APL2 can do with numbers and arrays is simply astounding, and the level of math precision is scary. And it even handles the infinity operator. Good job, Denny, and maybe we can get him to put that presentation up on the web. Right?
Greg Smith did a nice introduction to AWK, another of those super cool UNIX. scripting languages that let you do all kinds of manipulation and redirection of strings & such. Actually, Greg sort of eased us into AWK by starting with an explanation of SED, the stream editor.
One of the neat things about Greg's presentation was that the slides were done using, you guessed it, AWK! A nice primer on how to save time and avoid all of that super tedious hand html coding that drives me nuts and winds up being darn near impossible to modify when you change something.
Greg also did a very 'live' demo of how to take AWK and use it to write a short routine that will create a slide show for the premiere OS/2 image editor, PMView. While he did not have time enough to make sure that all the pointers to the laptop's CD were right, the example showed how quickly you can prototype something with AWK and pop it into another program.
Very neat. And I want to commend these members for sharing their favorite applications and tricks with the rest of us.
Next month I'll try to have some club business in this column along with everything else. In the meantime, e-mail me with thoughts, suggestions, or volunteer efforts:
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