Cooking with Dyalog – Kai Jaeger (APL Consultant) and Stephen Taylor (Equiniti Claybrook)

#Dyalog16 – Vibeke Ulmann

The presentation today was centred around the fact that many software programmers – and especially those who programme in Dyalog APL – have been involved in their applications for many years. Hence, they have not had to consider how to get from ‘beautiful code’ to a scenario where they have to package their applications to license them out and make a lot of money – because that has already been established at their site. Upon investigating what is available in the market in terms of guidance – Kai and Stephen discovered that there is almost nothing available in terms of Tips ’n Hints that can help a new programmer with a brilliant idea to publish said idea, in a nicely wrapped application.

During the User Meeting in Eastbourne in 2014, Stephen and Kai came up with the idea of harnessing all the knowhow, the examples, etc. that is available on the APL Wiki, and use it as the basis for developing a ‘Cookbook’ – which can help new application developers to get through the process from code, to packaged, saleable product – easier.

Since then Kai and Stephen have spent time outlining the content of the Cookbook, the table of content and what they envisage it will cover. And they have – to date – a written about 1/3 of the content on what goes into the ‘cooking pot’ to go from ‘my lovely Code’  – to ‘slick application’, which can be licensed to anyone for money.

Today’s session not only presented the work which has been put into the project so far – it also encouraged the audience to help contribute with their own ideas, examples, code, and experiences in order to make sure that the Cookbook takes advantage of the collaborative effort and experience which has been built over many years, for many different types of software applications. Because – as Stephen stressed – it turns out that there is actually rather a lot of work that needs doing before you have a product which can be marketed and licensed to hundreds or thousands of users.

Although no APL programmer starts out with the aim to make mega million $ – it’s a fact – that if we look back over the years, that the majority of the large multiuser applications which are today generating multimillion $ revenue, were all started by ‘2 men in a garage’. This is true for software solutions such as SimCorp’s Dimension out of Denmark for example.

For the moment the Cookbook is focused on the Microsoft Windows platform, but there is consideration to broaden it to cover multiple platforms.

For obvious reasons the Cookbook is a live, interactive, effort; it is visible and available and is written in Markdown (the standard for writing documentation on GitHub) – see, the repository for the book project, for contributions. There is a forking model which is used to lodge a pull request and then Stephen and Kai will look at them.

The intention is not necessarily to print the book in hardcopy – although some might see the light of day. It is more likely to be made available as a PDF, as a mobile ebook or potentially be shipped with Dyalog APL.

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