About Q'Nial

Q'Nial is a highly portable interpreter for Nial originally developed at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada in the early 1980s. Nial Systems Limited was set up in 1982 to market Q'Nial on behalf of the University. Q'Nial was used both commerically and in academia for a wide variety of applications. In 2001, the University transferred the intellectual property rights of Q'Nial to Mike Jenkins, who has decided to make the technology openly available.

Q'Nial is a programming system for rapid prototyping of problems involving extensive data manipulation, data analysis and/or inferencing. The Nested interactive Array Language, Nial, incorporates ideas from APL2, LISP, FP and structured programming languages like Pascal.

The language uses one form of data structure, nested rectangular arrays, for all data types. Q'Nial has been used for applications in decision support, knowledge based systems, scientific computing and data analysis.

Programming in Q'Nial for Windows is done by interacting with a Session Manager which accepts actions from the user and executes them. The Session Manager uses a scrolling window, in which the result of the computation is also displayed. There may be more than one such window, and there are also text editing windows that are used to develop definitions and programs.

The results of computations are displayed as data diagrams showing the data of the result in a structured way. The diagrams give immediate feedback on the effect of operations or definitions in development on trial data. Programming in this style is very effective because the code being developed is checked as you go along.

In Console versions of Q'Nial, the interaction takes place in an implicit loop that accepts actions and displays results. These versions can be given a definition file to be executed on startup.

Last Modified: Nov 2006