Associative indexing

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Associative indexing

Most contemporary language have associative indexing because most applications need it in some way or some other : we live in a world of tags as much as in a world of numbers. So in Perl or PHP you can index any array with a key instead of just an integer (Perl needs to introduce {} for associative arrays, but PHP does not).

While allowing A['Jones' 'Smith' 'Martin'] just as well as A[1 3 2] would ask for some further definition of what the monadic rho function returns for such arrays, I have the feeling any syntax extension would have no effect at all on existing programs using only integer indexing. What would be needed in the implementation is just an additional 2-bit type in the descriptor telling if the corresponding variable is indexed

  1. just numerically
  2. just alphamerically
  3. mixed

In the case of arrays of arrays, of course, that would need further definition, though each array in the description has it own descriptor too.

That is just a "partly-baked idea", not an implementation proposal yet, much less a contribution to the code (I only arrived today ans have not looked to the code yet); but just imagine how writing agile applications in APL (or NARS) would be easier to use with this associative indexing facility.

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