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IBM APL2 - Workstation APL2 for Multiplatforms V2 Technical Brief

Product Documentation


Technical detail on Workstation APL2, including features and system requirements.


Technical Detail

Workstation APL2 for Multiplatforms Version 2.0
IBM Program Product Number 5724-B74

Now Available with Service Level 25 (AIX, Linux, Solaris) 

Now Available with Service Level 26 (Windows)


Workstation APL2 for Multiplatforms Version 2.0, developed by the APL Products and Services Team at the IBM Silicon Valley Lab in San Jose, California, provides full-function APL2 environments for the AIX, Linux, Sun Solaris, and Windows operating systems.

APL2 is a programming language useful to both application program developers and interactive end-users. Data processing professionals find APL2 to be a highly productive tool for developing both commercial and scientific applications. APL2 is also considered to be extremely effective in such diverse areas as what-if modeling, exploratory programming, interactive computing, decision support, and data analysis.

Workstation APL2 Version 2.0 is compatible with the APL2 Version 2 products that run on mainframe zSeries systems with CMS and TSO and with previous Version 1 products for AIX, OS/2, Sun Solaris, and Windows. All of the APL2 systems permit transparent import and export of programs and data and allow for a high degree of application portability.

Workstation APL2 Version 2.0 combines the benefits and features of previous workstation APL2 products for AIX, Solaris, and Windows. In addition, Version 2.0 has significant new features including:

  • Support for Linux on PC compatible systems
  • Namespaces for application encapsulation and reuse
  • Interface to Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) objects on Windows
  • Online documentation in PDF form
  • APL2 Runtime Library for distribution of APL2 applications


Development Environment

Interactive programming is supported through a GUI session manager. On Windows, program, data, and dialog editors are integrated with the session manager. A library manager supports browsing and comparing the active workspace, saved workspaces, transfer files, and namespaces.

GUI applications

On Windows, APL2 provides tools for building GUI applications including ActiveX controls.

Large workspaces

APL2 exploits 32-bit operating systems architecture, allowing workspaces sizes approaching 2GB.

On-line Documentation

The APL2 User's Guide, the APL2 Language Reference manual, a Language Summary, APL2 Programming: Using APL2 with WebSphere, APL2 Programming: Using SQL, and the GRAPHPAK User's Guide are provided on-line in PDF form.

National Language Support

APL2 accepts system commands and issues messages in several national languages. Unicode data is supported by the Tcl interface and the HTTP server.

Runtime Library

A subset of the APL2 system is provided that can be redistributed at no cost to deploy applications without requiring users to acquire an APL2 license.

Programming Interface

The APL2 Programming Interface allows programs written in APL2, C, Java, and Visual Basic to start APL2 interpreters, call APL2 functions, and access APL2 arrays.

Internet Tools

NETTOOLS workspace and supporting utilities, including an HTTP 1.1 web server and clients supporting APL dialect independent data transfer and remote procedure calls.

Cooperative Processing

APL2 provides the ability to distribute data and processing among multiple APL2 systems connected through TCP/IP. The APL2 systems on CMS, TSO, AIX, Linux, Sun Solaris, and Windows all contain the following features:

  • Cross system shared variables for synchronization and data transfer in a distributed processing environment
  • A TCP/IP socket interface for communicating with non-APL applications
  • Program control of an APL2 session by another application or APL2 user
  • Remote session manager capability

Parallel Processing

Tools are provided for distributing applications onto multiple cores and machines.


Namespaces enable workspace encapsulation and reuse with reduced name conflicts. The support for namespaces on workstations makes feasible development and testing of applications for deployment as mainframe namespaces.

Files as Arrays

File access is supported using APL2 primitive functions and operators.

Object Library

APL2 arrays can be saved by name. Object files are portable between all APL2 systems.

Universal Graphics

The graphics processor supports generating high-quality graphics, text, and images, using a simple command syntax. The GRAPHPAK workspace is compatible with versions offered on all of the APL2 systems.

Database access

Auxiliary processor 127 provides an interface to IBM DB2, and auxiliary processor 227 provides an interface to databases supporting ODBC, using the SQL language.

COM interface

The COM external function supports access to Microsoft Component Object Model objects.

Tcl interface

The APL2 Tcl interface supports access to the Tcl command language, which provides a wide variety of tools for string parsing, file IO and building graphical user interfaces (GUI).

Performance monitor

The TIME workspace allows for analysis of APL2 programs to determine performance bottlenecks.

Application development workspaces

Example and utility workspaces are provided which can be used directly or modified for individual needs.

Calls to other languages

Programs written in other languages can be called using normal APL2 syntax.

Tools for writing auxiliary processors

Sample processors, C header files, and a server interface allow for easy implementation of custom processors, including client-server processors.

System Services

APL2 interfaces to system services are supplied as Associated Processors and Auxiliary Processors. Associated processors provide a synchronous interface to services via the name association facility of the APL2 language. Auxiliary processors provide an asynchronous interface to services using the shared variable facility.

Associated Processors Included:

REXX processor. Allows use of REXX functions as APL2 functions, manipulation of REXX programs as APL2 arrays, and easy access to operating system files.
Calls to External Routines. Allows an APL2 program to call routines outside the APL2 workspace. The called routine can be in an APL2 namespace or a program written in another language. A set of Processor 11 utility routines are supplied with the product. Documentation and sample files are also provided for writing your own external routines.
Files as Arrays. Allows manipulation of files with APL primitive functions and operators. Files can be operating system text files or APL files in the same format as those accessed with AP 210.
Calls to Java. Allows an APL2 program to access Java fields and methods.
Access to structured storage. Supports strong data typing, access to storage outside the workspace, and monitoring variable changes.

Auxiliary Processors Included:

Host System Command processor. Supports the submission of host operating system commands from an APL2 application.
Alternate Input (Stack) processor. Allows the creation of a stack of programmable input to APL2.
TCP/IP Socket API. Passes requests to TCP/IP, which provides communication facilities across networks.
Text display processor. Provides application control of a text window. Demonstration and cover workspaces are included.
DB2 processor. Provides access to IBM relational database product DB2, including remote access to distributed databases, via the SQL structured query language.
X Window API. Provides an interface to a large set of X Window System calls (Xlib). Demonstration and cover workspaces are included. (Unix systems only)
GUI Services processor. Provides access to GUI services. Demonstration and tool workspaces are included. (Windows systems only)
Calls to APL2 processor. Allows an APL2 program to control asynchronous APL2 sessions.
High-level universal graphics processor. Allows generation of high-quality graphics, text, and images, using a simple command syntax. Demonstration workspace and GRAPHPAK workspace are included.
File processor. Used to access operating system files. Text, binary, or APL-formatted objects are supported.
APL2 Object Library. Provides a facility for storing APL2 arrays by name in an object file. Files created by AP 211 are directly portable between Workstation APL2 and APL2 on CMS and TSO. Files created by AP 211 under APL2/PC (DOS) can be read by Workstation APL2.
ODBC processor. Provides access to databases and other programs that support the ODBC protocol, via the SQL language.
GPIB Support Processor. Allows access to external devices connected by a General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB). Interfaces to the National Instruments GPIB drivers. (Windows systems only)
Technical Information

Hardware Requirements:

  • At least 25 MB of unused disk space
  • At least 15 MB of memory above that required by the operating system

Software Requirements:

Workstation APL2 Version 2.0 has the following minimum software requirements:

  • AIX 5.0 with Motif 1.2 and X Window System X11R5
  • A Linux distribution for PC compatible machines with glibc 2.3.2, Motif 2.1, and X Window System X11R6
  • Solaris 2.5 with Motif 1.3 and X Window System X11R5
  • Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10

Some features of Workstation APL2 have additional minimum requirements:
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the on-line manuals.
  • IBM DB2 Universal Database, Version 5.0 for AP 127
  • An ODBC Driver Manager which supports ODBC 3.0 of Application Programming Interfaces for AP 227.
  • TCP/IP for AP 119 and cross-system shared variables
  • IBM Object REXX for calling REXX routines with Processor 10
  • Tcl and Tk 8.1 for the TCL external function.
  • Java 2 Version 1.4 for Processor 14 or to call APL2 from Java.

APL2 Publications

Workstation APL2 Version 2.0 includes the following online publications in PDF format:

Title Order Number
APL2 User's Guide SC18-7021
APL2 Programming: Language Reference SH31-1061
APL2 Programming: Using APL2 with WebSphere SC18-9442
APL2 Programming: Using SQL SH31-1057
APL2 Programming: Developing GUI Applications (Windows) SH31-7383
APL2 GRAPHPAK: User's Guide and Reference SH31-1074
APL2 Language Summary SX26-3851
Workstation APL2 Version 2.0 also includes the following publication:

Title Order Number
APL2 Keyboard Decals SC33-0604
Additional Information

This web page is for general guidance only. All products referred to here are subject to availability. IBM, AIX, APL2, DB2, OS/2 and WebSphere are trademarks of the IBM Corporation. Java, Sun and Solaris are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. ActiveX, Microsoft, Visual Basic and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Adobe and Acrobat are trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. Motif is a trademark of The Open Group.

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Document Information

Modified date:
09 May 2019