A+ is an array-based programming language made by Arthur Whitney. “A” was the original language, but later A+ was created to be a more powerful and efficient alternative. The language includes many features, such as an X11-based graphics tool kit that enhances IPC functionality in A+. It’s also a higher-level language with great amounts of primitive functions to easily manipulate arrays. The language is a dialect of APL and includes a graphical user interface and inter-process communication while programming. Not to mention, you can utilize reactive programming in A+ by changing one piece of data to trigger others. Programming in A+ allows users to set up dependencies through variables so whole systems can change. This feature allows the programmer to have powerful tools like spreadsheets and complex calculators. However, a downside while coding can be having to change fonts for the various hieroglyphics used in the APL.



Benefits and downsides

Nowadays the trend of A+ has been going down. This is an indicator of a downside since it’s probably not useful if many developers don’t use it anymore. To add, a downside when it was used back then was that it was only on SunOS systems. Though that was one of the most popular systems, people who didn’t have access were limited.

Many developers have noted that there are also no real materials to learn A+. The references are very limited and barely give you examples of syntax or structures. It seems as if the language died out and no one ever thought of updating or revising its documentation. For this reason, it is not really used too much in the industry nowadays. Because of this, having this skillset doesn’t really equip you with the knowledge you can use on your own. The last known update I found was in the late 2000s. Since then, there hasn’t seemed to be any other updates in A+.



Examples of code

The structure of an if statement in A+ starts with the word If. After that, an expression can be written inside parentheses. Lastly, it is followed by another expression or an expression block. As you can tell, this sounds very similar to most other programming language’s syntax. If you want to add an else statement you can do that as well. All that is needed is to add the word else on the same line after the parenthesis.

Going onto loops, in A+ it is much like python and other high-level languages. The syntax is pretty similar for a loop and an if statement since it is intuitive. Though there may be some characters that are confusing, loops can be written pretty straightforwardly in A+. A while loop for example starts off with while. Next, an expression in parenthesis is written followed by another expression or expression group. In the case where an expression is entered in the parenthesis by itself, the code will return null. Though these examples seem simple, it may take longer to grasp the syntax of complexities like functions in A+.

An example of an if statement in A+ can be written as:

If (a=b) {

a = 5;


sys.exit 0

An example of a while loop statement in A+ can be written as:

while(a<b) {

a = (a + b)/b;


sys.exit 0


A+ hasn’t been trending so much over the recent decades. Nowadays, languages like C++ and Python easily replace it by having its functionality, and more. Developers have been shying away for A+ because of this and its popularity took a significant plummet. This also explains the reason why there are no current supported platforms for A+. Also, nowadays object-oriented programming is becoming more popular than array-based programming. Object-oriented programming is less advantageous in an abstract sense but more advantageous with variables and functions. It is used by many developers today and entails manageability and a lot of similar array-based programming features. In fact, you can even implement array-based programming within object-oriented programming.

Others: Differences with other languages

The syntax of A+ symbols is just one example of the difference between A+ and other programming languages. Some other key differences are the variance in variables, functions, and commands in the language. In A+, these functions start off with an underscore and usually an abbreviation of the task. This can be seen with “Changing Directory” or “Debug.” The way these functions are written are ”_cd” and “_dbg.” Overall, this unique style of code shows how A+ was different than other languages, yet just as effective.

Lastly, another example of a difference of A+ compared to other languages is files. You can do more with files in A+ by mapping simple arrays, changing directories, adding new items, etc. For instance, the Form of Name can be written as “*.” which uses data functions (ex, util.+). Mappable arrays can also be used and are written as “*.m” which can help increase simplicity. Say you have a file with prices, you can make a mappable array by writing “prices.m” to create a new list. For printing files in A+, the “$| test lpr” command is used to pipe the file “test” to lpr command. To get around, users can also utilize the “$cd” command. This allows users to change the Unix directory of files, while still maintaining the simplicity and stylistic elements. Ultimately these variances serve as the main reasons why programming is unique, simple, and efficient in A+.

Others: Applications

Takeaway on A+

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