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[REBOL] Re: Parsing comment

From: carl:cybercraft at: 25-Sep-2002 13:53

Hmmm. This bounced with the first try. Everyone's a critic... (: Anyway... On 23-Sep-02, Jason Cunliffe wrote:
> Today I read a comment about REBOL which I don't understand. I am > NOT seeking to start a language flamewar. Just curious and hoping > someone here can explain more about parsers. I barely know how to > use REBOL's parse, but I like what I know about it, and it has a > strong reputation in these waters. >> On Rebol (which to my ears rhymes more with Cobol than with rebel >> :-), I've not looked much at it personally, but I trust a close >> colleague who has, and who finds it hard to use because the parser >> cannot know the end of a function's parameter list -- that's only >> known at run time, once the function is called. Sounds like dead on >> arrival to me, as far as language design goes. So if we want to >> learn from Rebol, we must try to learn from other ideas in it, not >> from the core language design.
Ingo gave a good example of what they were probably on about I think. ie, fee fie foe fum could be any mixture of functions and arguments in REBOL. For those coming from other languages, seeing half a dozen or more words in a line with nothing to distinguish between them other than their letters can be disconcerting. The problem's caused by REBOL being a functional language I guess. If we were forced to use parens everywhere the scripts would look horrible, as apposed to just incomprehesible. For this reason, I've never liked the suggestion that the best way to learn REBOL is to look at other people's scripts. It didn't work for me and I doubt it does for a lot of people. Get the guide and start writing scripts would be my suggestion. What's important with your scripts is to choose good words for your functions and data, something that doesn't always matter as much in other languages. Ideally the words should suggest what they do or the data they represent, but it's not always easy thinking of good ones when you're coding - it can interrupt the flow. Once you're reasonably comfortable with REBOL you don't give a second thought about this, though it may be that REBOL's only suitable to certain types of programmers. That said, I haven't heard any major complaints about this from those who've seriously attempted to learn REBOL. Speed, features, documentation and licencing seem to get much more complaints. -- Carl Read