[REBOL] Re: World Wide Rabbit - and what can be done to fix it?
From: greggirwin:mindspring at: 20-Oct-2002 12:47
Ed, Jason et al
I have a different view of REBOL, and what it means for REBOL to "succeed".
I don't expect REBOL to displace C++, Java, or the WWW anytime soon, but
that doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that RT can stay alive, no
matter how small they are, and continue provide the tools and toys we've
come to know and love. If they can make a good living, and I can use my tool
of choice to help people solve their problems, I'm happy.
Jason, you said that you got a new DL of Java from Sun because yours got
mangled (which apparently happens a lot). How often has your REBOL
installation become unstable? Don't forget the size difference either. To me
REBOL's design is based on general principles applied in many ways, which
tends to mean that any particular feature, no matter how well it's
implemented, will not be optimized for every possible use.
Another thing that is often, if not always, in my mind is that a lot of the
features and examples in REBOL are just "road signs" for us to follow, so we
have some familiar language "landmarks" as we come to REBOL from other
langugages. When we see language, GUI, or runtime features in other
languages, we tend (myself included) to think "Hey! They could add that to
REBOL and it would be even better!", but this is not always true. Maybe it
never is. :) REBOL is different, and it allows us to solve problems in
<<WHAT'S WRONG WITH View/DESKTOP [Top 5]?
1. DISPLAY MODES
No scrollable list 'mode' to display sites as alternative of big icons >>
OK, this is a good example I think. I agree that a list mode might be a nice
feature, but how much does it buy you? I.e. how many items can you navigate
easily in icon mode, versus list mode? 100 vs. 500 maybe? Not a bad gain, to
be sure, but is it enough? How many sites are going to be out there? 10,000?
Are mini-icons really that helpful? Unless they're a well designed, scaled
down version of a larger icon, can they really provide a lot of meaning?
Searching and sorting, as you said, are very important. How easy will it be
to search Java WAR (web archive) files versus REBOL data?
<< - take a look at Limewire for example of a pretty neat interface:
I didn't download it (I'm on slow dial-up) but it does look pretty neat all
right. Now, consider that the LimeWire team is developing an application
that runs on three platforms and their development team is probably as large
as RTs (if not larger) while RT is developing a sub-platform that runs on
*lots* of platforms. What would it take to do something like LimeWire in
REBOL? Is that something that we should do, or RT should do? RT isn't really
in the "applications" business at this point.
<< 5. BOOKMARKING
No fast and friendly way to bookmark sites our group theme in convenient
What about bookmarks.r? OK, there's no menu option that says "Add Bookmark",
but you can tweak the desktop quite readily, though I certainly haven't
excercised this to its full potential myself (e.g. adding new services).
Since the Desktop is part of View, everything that is added to it adds to
the basic View package. Maybe someone who knows will jump in and tell us how
we can call code snippets from custom Service or Bookmark entries and we can
configure the Desktop ourselves. That doesn't solve all our problems, but it
would be pretty handy. Some of the features you mentioned (highlighting
visited links) might not be hard to do, especially considering that each
face can have its own effect, or have its icon composited with another
image. Maybe they could just give us a hook. Send it to feedback and see
what they say.
In looking, briefly, at the Java Web Start stuff, something else struck me.
The JNLP (Java Network Loading Protocol) has to be set up for each app you
want to load, and you have to configure the web server for a new MIME type,
correct? Contrast that with setting up a reb site.
On to some thoughts on languages and such...
<< Another case in point, I've watched a number of languages come and go
over the years, we've had Fortran, COBOL, BASIC, COMAL, Forth, and many
more come and go. Some of which attempted to make programming easier for
all to understand (COBOL, BASIC), but what languages have actually
reigned supreme? C, C++ and Java. All languages that are admittedly
powerful, but are just as equally incomprehensible to J. Q. Public. >>
I'll differ with Ed's view a bit here. COBOL and BASIC are far from gone,
and Forth was never really a big time language, but it's not gone either
(you can program Lego Mindstorms with pbForth :). I have to admit that I've
never heard of COMAL (oCAML yes, COMAL no). Now, I don't know of anybody who
learns COBOL today because it's hip or cool, and VB has grown ever further
from its BASIC language roots, but they're still out there serving a need.
Whether a language is powerful, to me, is determined by how well it lets you
express yourself and solve problems efficiently. This means different things
in different contexts. Assembly is powerful in an entirely different way
than SQL, but both are powerful and each limits your thinking in certain
ways. You can't solve a problem that you can't express.
<<...as long as they prefer to be geniuses, and limited in there thinking,
Carl, and all others who would try and make the computer world and easier
a tough battle ahead of them. >>
Until the time is right which, unfortunately, sometimes doesn't happen in
VB overcame its "BASIC" stigma because it provided something that people
needed. Now lots of tools and languages have emulated it in many ways. I
think the same may happen with REBOL. The "smart people" will see that it
provides something we need (something we're not really exploiting very well
yet: messaging) and, at the same time, is accessible. Lisp and Scheme, along
with many other languages, are very powerful, but they are not accessible
If you've seen "Field of Dreams", think of those great lines James Earl
Jones has when he's saying "people will come...they won't know why...", etc.
Maybe they won't come to REBOL, but REBOL represents something they want.