As you may be aware Dyalog offers students and lecturers at Universities and other educational institutions the possibility to acquire an educational license free of charge. Although we have not marketed this possibility as such - the fact that we have the application form on the website has resulted in us receiving several hundred applicants since the scheme was put in place.
As part of the condition for being granted an educational license, license holders agreed to submit a comprehensive report regarding their particular use and/or project when they have held the license for 12 months. But as we’re awaiting the first reports, we thought it would be interesting to find out more about the background of the people who apply as well as how they evaluate the product, the documentation, and get a bit of preliminary insight into what they use Dyalog for.
The result of the survey is very encouraging and we thought we’d share some of the findings with you.
We all agree that it is vital to get more young people excited about Dyalog and APL programming. We’re therefore happy to report that:
- 53% of the respondents indicated an age below 35 and, of those, 23% were between 15 and 25
- 50% were students and 25% lecturers – so a total of 75% were directly involved in either teaching or using Dyalog for their studies or a university project
- 42% are looking for a new career – so we will be studying those answers in more detail to find out more about the individual respondents
We had an expectation that most of the respondents had knowledge of other programming languages. This was correct:
- C# (19%)
- C++ (38%)
- Java (29%)
- Java Script (15%)
- Java Basic (1%)
- Visual Studio (15%)
- Other APL (29%)
- HTML (48%)
- Microsoft .Net (15%)
- The really interesting finding, however, is that there is a massive use of other, maybe less common, languages. For instance: Common Lisp, Scheme, Python, ML, Postscript, PHP, ColdFusion, Reduce, Fortran, Matlab, Prolog, Haskell, Emacs Lisp, R, Visual Basic, Perl, Verilog, J, XML and Delphi.
52% had used Dyalog for 6 months or less and only 29% had used it longer than 9 months.
The reason for the request of an educational License ranged from:
- 25% heard about Dyalog from someone else
- 15% already knew someone who used Dyalog
- A staggering 17% had an idea for an application where they felt Dyalog would be the most suitable to use
- 15% applied because they were curious
- 29% indicated another reason, ranging from:
- I teach APL programming, and want to recommend Dyalog to my students
- Explaining to students that there are more sophisticated languages than Basic and R
- Teach it as a tool in statistics or actuarial class
- Several said they were taking an APL Workshop
- My dad used to use APL!
When asked "how do you currently use Dyalog", respondents said:
- 65% for complex calculations
- 39% for data exploration
- 28% for graphing data
- 24% for application development
- 24% indicated another use, including:
- web “cgi”
- rapid prototyping
- little applets (interactive applications)
- solve any type of problem in an elegant manner
- modelling and simulation
When asked how they had got started using Dyalog, respondents said:
- 16% attended a course where Dyalog was taught
- 20% already knew someone using Dyalog
- 24% used the documentation
- 9% found an introductory book
- 31% gave other explanations such as:
- Bought PocketAPL for PocketPC - Great product!
- Converted from APLPLUS
- Replacement for other APL
- Found it on the web
Asked to evaluate the product and the documentation, 77% found the product very intuitive to use with 85% saying the same for the documentation. A fantastic 13% and 20% respectively gave product and documentation top marks. And, we’re happy to report that 78% of the respondents are still using the product.
One should never underestimate “word of mouth” – neither should “marketing” be neglected as we found when we asked how people had originally heard about Dyalog.
- 20% by surfing the net
- 34% had used APL before
- 18% had been recommended Dyalog by a friend
- 5% had heard about Dyalog in a Forum
- one respondent even had to do an APL test using Dyalog for a job interview
45% indicated that they had recommended Dyalog to someone else.
Finally, a surprisingly low 14% indicated that they were members of an online forum with email@example.com the most popular.
We are currently in the process of studying the answers in more detail and absolutely convinced that the answers will help us determine future strategy with regards to assisting students and lecturers in using Dyalog for teaching, application development and project related work in universities across the globe.