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[REBOL] Re: What language am I looking for?

From: dean:clockwork-technologies:ab:ca at: 13-May-2001 0:53

For me, the eternal quest has always been "What languages (plural) am I looking for?" As a programmer, I've used more languages than I can keep track of myself, from various dialects of Assembler to 4GLs, and everything in between, and I am convinced that no one language, not even REBOL, is the magic bullet that will replace all else. I've spent only a short time working with REBOL, but can definitely see a place for it in my toolbox. Here's my concrete example: My current employer (I am a contractor) is in the midst of getting rid of their old, underpowered mainframe and replacing it with a sleek new Sun box. Our current slate of COBOL programs is being re-compiled to work on the new platform. I connect to both the mainframe and the Sun through my desktop PC, which runs Windows NT. The mainframe and the new Sun box do not directly speak to one another. Because the systems are isolated from one another, testing is a chore. Steps are: 1) Run a slate of programs on the mainframe. 2) Copy the data files from the mainframe to my PC (via Windows FTP -- yuck). 3) Copy the same files from my PC to the Sun box. 4) Run the same test slate on the Sun. Using my PC as a way-station is most annoying. REBOL, however, allows me to essentially copy directly from the mainframe to the Sun box, and compresses steps 2 and 3 into a single, more homogenous step. The script took all of 10 minutes to write and is extremely fast to run. Yes, yes, I realise that my PC is still a way station, but using a REBOL script makes the whole transfer process much more invisible.
>From what I've seen, REBOL excels in situations where files are spread across a network, but still
need to be easily accessed. The built in protocols (FTP, HTTP, POP, etc) really help to make a heterogeneous network much simpler to work with. The other strength lies in the fact that it's scripted, not compiled. For the numerous quick and dirty jobs I need to do, scripting languages simply make more sense than ones I need to compile. I can write the script, run it, and then throw it away if I know I'll never need it again. Simplicity itself. I'd certainly write REBOL scripts over, say Perl scripts any day. Does all of this mean I'm going to throw away my beloved Smalltalk compiler? Hardly. Would I go to my employer and suggest that they rewrite their current COBOL applications in REBOL? Not in this lifetime! If anyone were to ask me what language I would use to write a large business system, I'd say COBOL, every time. If someone were then to ask me what language they should use to manipulate and share files across a networked environment, I'd certainly mention REBOL. Ask me about some other situation, and I might well say that Smalltalk is by far the best choice. Every language has its purpose. For me, the better question is: Does REBOL fit in your toolkit? From what little I've used, it certainly fits in mine. This was rather longer than I had hoped. Sorry, all... Regards, Dean Powell Edmonton, Canada Original message from: "Ken Anthony"