[REBOL] Re: starting to be really late!?
From: ed:brittlestar at: 8-Jan-2004 1:23
To compete with Flash -- or any well-established commercial product or
open-source language-- let's face it, it probably is too late. RT has
limited resources and bandwidth to stake a claim against Macromedia, Adobe
and numerous other public or privately funded companies.
It's true that the "X-Internet" label was a marketing buzzword, but REBOL
never appeared (to my eyes anyway) to be mainstream market-driven or
customer-focused. Good languages and technologies aren't often the product
of markets or concensus, so it probably makes sense.
If popularity or money were truly central to the mission, consider the
* platform-independence, instead of support for Win32/COM/CORBA (or Unix
* support for common open network protocols/formats, no proprietary ones
* free-form syntax, instead of C style syntax
* language name choice is slightly awkward (COBOL, SNOBOL) instead of a
* lightweight cloning instead of rigid OOP
* ideas from Forth and Logo, instead of more popular C, VB or Perl
* designed for "programming in the small", not for general programming or
* code interpreted instead of compiled
* execution speed is respectable, but not a hallmark feature (such as with
K, euphoria, erlang)
* single execution thread
* no modules/libraries, foreign functions, continuations, spawning of
sub-processes (& other exotic MIT hacker profile)
* interactive console and your favorite editor, instead of a 20 MB IDE
* tiny disk footprint, instead of 5, 10, 20 MB or more
* minimal install, instead of a 20 step Wizard-driven system infestation
* think about your code instead of relying on rich, integrated debuggers
* minimal GUI layer, not mature (missing html controls & formatting, no
data-grid control, etc.)
* no wysiwyg or GUI/forms design tools
* /command db access not robust (i.e., count occurrences of #? in the SQL
statement and bind a value to it)
* BNF style grammars instead of a Regex engine
* limited XML support, not mature
* Latin characters instead of UTF-8 or Unicode
* closed source instead of open source
* REBOL is not available/mature on the number 2 desktop platform, Apple
(2-3% of the market)
* dialects instead of.... well, I've yet to see common problems that
language dialects solve (but I hope to)
Looking at the above list (and I appreciate many of the items as much as I
dislike other ones), REBOL doesn't look like a commercial, market-focused
language. Normally I would expect the data to form a profile of one or more
marketable customer segments, i.e., scripter, hobbyist, corp. programmer,
sysadmin, hacker, etc. The profile I arrive at from the list above is one
of... well, a rebel.
So rather than targetting a market opportunity, Carl created a language-- a
platform, really-- that embodies his principles in a personal programming
language (wasn't that what his original manifesto said?). I've been using
REBOL off-and-on for over 6 years, and that's longer than I can say for most
commercial products I've worked with. I believe that there are marketable &
revolutionary products in REBOL, or a REBOL-like language.
Given the limited resources of RT, the small user-base of REBOL, and the
_heavily_ commoditized state of programming languages, I'd love to see an
updated vision or roadmap for REBOL (forget delivery dates, naturally).
Before I close this overly long message, I'll posit a parting thought. Tim
Bray and other bloggers have asserted that there are 4 main kinds of apps:
* information retrieval & consumption
* database interaction
* content creation
* games/media players
and that history implies that the web has the first 2 solidly covered.
Will REBOL compete with the web, or will it mature enough to allow you and
me to create robust apps in the latter 2 categories?
Hey, despite the frustration, confusion and the passage of long periods of
time, this is still mostly fun, right?
Good luck with /View 1.3 all.