Thursday, November 10, 2016

J programming terseness meets syntax formatting

For those who have worked closely with XLP and Lambda Prime technologies, it's well known that the analyst and developer teams use functional programming languages regularly for competitive advantage (in stark contrast to the currently populist Python or Javascript development). We use Mathematica regularly for rapid prototyping, Clojure for data manipulation tasks, and J for developing proprietary data science algorithms. Of the three, J provides the strongest competitive edge, as it allows full control and transparency into the development of high performance and high productivity algorithms.

However, it's fairly terse, and for the uninitiated Python/Javascript developer, it can be intimidating.

The J Programming language is a dense, terse, expert language derived from the old APL language, and optimized for concise representation of advanced algorithms. Reading J code in plain text editors, however, can be painful without the visual pattern recognition of symbols that often requires a few weeks of study, and months to master.

Enter the Sublime Text Editor syntax formatting script for J:

This script has been uploaded onto Github here. To install the script on Linux or Mac, simply place the file into the home directory:


Then, in Sublime 3, go to Menu -> View -> Syntax -> J to turn on the syntax highlighting mode.