[REBOL] Re: Dialects (any plan is better than no plan) - Bane or Blessing?
From: greggirwin:mindspring at: 27-Sep-2002 15:41
Hi Tim, et al
Many other programmers have told me that rebol looks very promising,
but shy away because of the lack of a standard library or API. And
frankly I think rebol is "old enough" to have that now.
I was thinking about this because some time ago I put out a feeler message
to see if people were interested in organizing a set of function libraries.
Not much interest. I have my own, and I know some others do as well, but
there is no standard architecture for them which I think is important. I
started mine when I was very new to REBOL, so I have little faith that my
approach is a very good one, hence I haven't put it out there. In any case,
I hope that when Carl makes an announcment about the new libmaster that
we'll be able to get something going in this area.
As far as the lack of a standard library in REBOL, I have an opinion about
this as well (I'm just full of opinions lately :).
If you compare REBOL to some other languages, there is a lot of comparable
functionality. The difference is that in REBOL they aren't considered
libraries. The various net protocols are a good example. Some languages even
list things as library components that we would think of as integral parts
of the language. If we were to draw a line between native functions versus
schemes, mezzanines, and other pieces written in REBOL, it would probably
look like REBOL had a comparable set of standard libraries. It's just that
we don't see them that way. :)
Maybe what we really need is a document that discusses this issue and
outlines some of the built-in pieces that eliminate the need for many
Or maybe a link on www.rebol.com to a page for the "REBOL Standard
Libraries" and a bullet list on that page:
GUI built-in (View only, no TK required)
It's too bad that RT (IMHO) hasn't taken (or delegated) the lead in that.
Lacking that, a series of well-documented dialects might help
to fill that gap.
I think a set of function libraries is still important, for the same reason
that lots of REBOL's features are: people expect them. It gives them a
comfortable place to start, where they can look at things in a familiar
context. Dialects are where it's at, but people looking at REBOL for the
first time aren't going to see that. They need to be able to ease in slowly
in most cases.
There are also some basic pieces still missing (rounding numbers, justifying
strings, etc.) that could stand to have a good reference version in a
visible place. Other libraries would be higher level, more specialized (like
Ladislav's %high-fun.r), or OS specific. Dialects should probably have their
I think the current library suffers from lack of visibility and a bit of
stagnation, but it's still very valuable! For people just checking things
out on the web, they can't see how cool it is from the View Desktop, which
is a shame. One of the greatest things is how "alive" things can be. I.e.
you can click on a script and see it run. I think an EasyVID style front end
on a library could be *very* cool. Just click samples to run them, maybe
have a place to enter test code and data, all the docs are there as well.
Now where is all that extra time I thought I had... :)