Free Programming Books

5 Excellent Free Books to Learn Icon

Icon is a high-level, general-purpose language that contains a wide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data — strings of characters and structures — both as text and as graphic images.

Icon has a large repertoire of operations for manipulating structures — records, lists, sets, and tables — and extensive capabilities for processing strings of characters. At the heart of Icon is a goal — directed expression-evaluation mechanism that simplifies many programming tasks. Storage is allocated automatically — you never have to worry about allocating space — and garbage collection reclaims unused space as necessary.

Applications of Icon include analyzing natural languages, reformatting data, generating computer programs, manipulating formulas, formatting documents, artificial intelligence, rapid prototyping, and graphic display of complex objects, and more.

Here’s our recommended free books that’ll help you master Icon.


1. The Icon Programming Language by Ralph E. Griswold and Madge T. Griswold

The Icon Programming Language

This book describes Version 9.3 of the Icon programming language.

The first 11 chapters of this book describe the main features of Icon. Chapter 12 contains an overview of Icon’s graphics facilities, and Chapter 13 describes features of Icon that do not fit neatly into other categories. Chapter 14 provides information about running Icon programs. Chapter 15 describes libraries of Icon procedures available to extend and enhance Icon’s capabilities. Chapter 16 deals with errors and diagnostic facilities. Chapters 17 through 20 illustrate programming techniques and provide examples of programming in Icon.

The reader of this book should have a general understanding of the concepts of computer programming languages and a familiarity with the current terminology in the field. Programming experience with other programming languages, such as Pascal or C, is desirable.

This book was originally published by Peer-to-Peer Communications. It’s out of print and the rights have reverted to the authors, who placed it in the public domain.

Read the book


2. Graphics Programming in Icon by Ralph E. Griswold, Clinton L. Jeffery, and Gregg M. Townsend

Graphics Programming in Icon

Chapters cover:

  • Introduction to the language.
  • Basic concepts of Icon graphics.
  • Drawing operations: lines, points, arcs, and more.
  • Icon’s “turtle graphics” procedures.
  • Facilities for reading and writing strings of text
  • Use of color.
  • Patterns and Images
  • Use multiple windows, use and sharing of graphics contexts, and interaction with the underlying graphics window system.
  • Input events including polling, blocking, synchronization with output, and complications raised by multiple windows.
  • Interface components (buttons, sliders, and more)
  • VIB – Icon’s interactive interface builder.
  • Program construction.
  • Additional dialogs.
  • Case studies.

To use this book, you should have some programming experience (not necessarily a knowledge of Icon), some experience with applications that use graphics (but not necessarily any experience in graphics programming), and access to a PC.

This book was originally published by Peer-to-Peer Communications. It’s out of print and the rights have reverted to the authors, who placed it in the public domain.

Read the book


3. The Implementation of the Icon Programming Language by Ralph E. Griswold and Madge T. Griswold

The Implementation of the Icon Programming LanguageThe Implementation of the Icon Programming Language is a study of an implementation of Icon. It differs from usual books on compilers in emphasizing the implementation of run-time facilities and handling of sophisticated language features.

The book focuses on central issues of the implementation of the language.

You need a general familiarity with programming languages and a general idea of what is involved in implementing a complex software system.

This book originally was published by Princeton University Press. It’s out of print and the rights have reverted to the authors, who placed it in the public domain.

Read the book


4. Graphics Facilities for the Icon Programming Language by Gregg M. Townsend, Ralph E. Griswold

Graphics Facilities for the Icon Programming Language

The Icon programming language provides a large set of platform-independent facilities for graphical input and output. The implementation includes numerous functions and keywords specifically for graphics. These are augmented by additional library procedures that add higher-level capabilities.

This document describes the graphics facilities of Version 9.3 of Icon. A knowledge of Icon is assumed. Previous experience with computer graphics is helpful.The body of the text presents a survey Icon’s graphics capabilities. Full descriptions of the functions, attributes, and other items appear in appendices.

Read the book


5. Icon Programming Language Handbook by Thomas W. Christopher

Icon Programming Language HandbookThis book is designed to serve two purposes: to introduce the reader to Icon and to be a reference for Icon.

As an introduction to programming in Icon, the handbook assumes you already know how to program in some other procedural programming language — C or Pascal, say.

Read the book


All books in this series:

Free Programming Books
JavaGeneral-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language
CGeneral-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language
PythonGeneral-purpose, structured, powerful language
C++General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language
C#Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic
JavaScriptInterpreted, prototype-based, scripting language
PHPPHP has been at the helm of the web for many years
HTMLHyperText Markup Language
SQLAccess and manipulate data held in a relational database management system
RubyGeneral purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language
AssemblyAs close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal
SwiftPowerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language
GroovyPowerful, optionally typed and dynamic language
GoCompiled, statically typed programming language
PascalImperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s
PerlHigh-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language
RDe facto standard among statisticians and data analysts
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented Language
ScalaModern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language
FortranThe first high-level language, using the first compiler
ScratchVisual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children
LuaDesigned as an embeddable scripting language
LogoDialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility
RustIdeal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code
LispUnique features - excellent to study programming constructs
AdaALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages
HaskellStandardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language
SchemeA general-purpose, functional language descended from Lisp and Algol
PrologA general purpose, declarative, logic programming language
ForthImperative stack-based programming language
ClojureDialect of the Lisp programming language
JuliaHigh-level, high-performance language for technical computing
AwkVersatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing language
CoffeeScriptTranscompiles into JavaScript inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell
BASICBeginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
ErlangGeneral-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language
VimLPowerful scripting language of the Vim editor
OCamlThe main implementation of the Caml language
ECMAScriptBest known as the language embedded in web browsers
BashShell and command language; popular both as a shell and a scripting language
LaTeXProfessional document preparation system and document markup language
TeXMarkup and programming language - create professional quality typeset text
ArduinoInexpensive, flexible, open source microcontroller platform
TypeScriptStrict syntactical superset of JavaScript adding optional static typing
ElixirRelatively new functional language running on the Erlang virtual machine
F#Uses functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming methods
TclDynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells
FactorDynamic stack-based programming language
EiffelObject-oriented language designed by Bertrand Meyer
AgdaDependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic Type Theory
IconWide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data
XMLRules for defining semantic tags describing structure ad meaning
ValaObject-oriented language, syntactically similar to C#
Standard MLGeneral-purpose functional language characterized as "Lisp with types"
DGeneral-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.