Text processing language for linguistics 

for Rational Pilot

SIL Pilot variant by Strangfeld, suitable for presentation of linguistic materials

The two documents are available in the distribution file at the SIL FTP site.

Related languages
PILOT => RAP   Extension of

  • Parker, Kirk H., and Gary F. Simons. "A common subroutine library for RAP programmers" Occasional Publications in Academic Computing No. 11. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics. view details Extract: Introduction
      The RAP  language (Strangfeld 1988) was designed especially for
    writing computer  programs that interact heavily with users.  RAP
    makes it  easy to display text on the terminal screen, and to get
    and test  responses typed  by users.   RAP's high-level features,
    such as  the menu-construct  and built-in pattern matching, allow
    complicated control structures to be programmed with a minimum of

      The philosophy  behind RAP  is not,  however, to  provide every
    possible user-interface feature as a built-in function.  Instead,
    RAP seeks  to provide  the basic  building blocks from which such
    features can  be constructed.   To support this, RAP provides for
    extension in  two ways:   the  set of  program  commands  can  be
    extended by  adding  user-defined  procedures,  and  the  set  of
    program functions  can be extended by adding user-defined numeric
    functions and string functions.  These user-defined constructs we
    refer to collectively as subroutines, or simply routines.

      This volume describes one set of subroutines which extend RAP's
    capabilities in  the areas  of user  interaction, file  handling,
    context-sensitive help,  string processing, and terminal control.
    The subroutine  library is  called COMMON,  because it contains a
    set of  commonly needed  procedures and  functions.   We envision
    that this  COMMON library  will be  used by  virtually every  RAP
    application program.   The  library  is  contained  in  the  file
    COMMON.RAP.   To make  use of the subroutines, a programmer needs
    only to include the line

      .include common.rap

    in the  main RAP  program file.   The simplicity of accessing the
    library makes  it possible  for even  novice programmers  to make
    full use of the subroutines.
  • Strangfeld, Richard A. "The RAP programming language" Occasional Publications in Academic Computing No. 10. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1988 view details Extract: Origin of RAP
    RAP is derived from the PILOT programming language (Starkweather 1969). PILOT is a computer-aided instruction language intended for use by novice programmers. RAP (whose name was once Rational Pilot) has many of the features of PILOT, but adds enhancements that make the language more structured and more powerful. There are three key additions: structured program control constructs (with the removal of jumps), parameters for called subprograms, and local variables. These changes make it easier to write clear and useful programs in RAP. Apart from the enhancements, most RAP commands come from ordinary PILOT. Abstract:   RAP  is   a  programming   language  intended  to  help  put  a
    "friendlier" layer  between "unfriendly" complicated programs and
    their users.   An  experienced user of some complex program could
    write  a  RAP  program  to  help  his  or  her  less  experienced
    colleagues.  That RAP program might ask questions and offer menus
    to the  user in  a "friendly" fashion, then pass the instructions
    obtained to  the other program in whatever "unfriendly" format it

      A typical  use of  RAP might  be with IT--the interlinear  text
    processing system (Simons and Versaw 1988).  This system consists
    of a  number of  programs for  manipulating interlinear annotated
    text.   Most of these programs get their instructions on what the
    user wants to do from a "control file."

      Without RAP,  the user  must use  a text  editor  to  type  the
    control file  by hand.   This  file is written to rather exacting
    specifications; the  user generally works with a book open to the
    page giving  those specifications  in order to see what is needed
    and in  what format.  After creating and saving the control file,
    the  user   might  type   something  like    itprep  -f  prep.ctl
    chumash.txt to run an IT program.

      With RAP,  you can  set up  a "friendly"  program to handle the
    messy details  that the  IT programs require.  When run, this RAP
    program would  present the  user with  a set  of  multiple-choice
    menus and  other questions.   It  would provide  explanations and
    extra helps  as needed.   It would ask all the questions required
    for the operation selected, automatically write the control file,
    and automatically run the proper IT program.

    • FTP at SIL