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[REBOL] Re: Parsing comment

From: gscottjones:mchsi at: 24-Sep-2002 5:25

Hi, Jason, From: "Jason Cunliffe" ...
... <external quote> ...
> rejoin ["some string" variable function [param1 param2]] > > If it gets any longer than that, > time for line breaks. > Keep each phrase > on its own line > so it reads like a poem!
... That is wonderful! REBOL poetry for the masses (, but the gurus use REBOL sonnets!). I think Ralph Roberts would like this, too. I guess REBOL's indentation rules (or lack thereof) and syntax (or lack thereof) would probably drive a hard-core Pythoner to drink (at least one who had never been exposed to more functional-like languages). It made me think of another analogy, of sorts, in how we learn language. We start with short phrases, testing them out, and see what response we get. Sometimes, we see that our meaning has been conveyed; other times, not. Sometimes we *unknowingly* carry forward an ambiguous state of knowledge and understanding that only unravels much later. It can be very confusing to the initiate. The ability to work interactively with short commands can be very powerful, easy way to learn and be productive from early on. Some imperative languages (NB: I am not necessarily characterizing Python in this regard) require a process more akin to sentence diagramming. However, instead of decomposing a sentence into its diagram, one would construct the fragments, and then string the fragments into a working whole. The process itself may contribute to developing well-organized, technically correct sentences (or program, by way of the analogy) where errors can be pinpointed more readily, but the learning curve for the initiate is daunting. Proper construction requires vision, planning, and experience. Most of us learn our spoken languages at the command-line console of life. Later, we learn more about proper structure through the implicit method of diagramming in the development of sentences, paragraphs, and topics. I do not know this to be true, but my guess is that some languages have more built-in ambiguity than others. Formalized training in the scientific process helps us to disambiguate language and concepts, but our building blocks are inherently ambiguous (by tradition and culture). REBOL and Python both offer the consoles that ease the learning curve. Both are high level in that we are not having to bake our limestone, so that we can have cement to which we can add to aggregate and build the concrete foundation upon which we build our house (makes me miss assembly language). REBOL allows a decidely more free-form construction that can become James Joyce-ian, and therefore inscrutable to all but the REBOL interpreter and the author :-). Python encourages the sort of structure upon which sky scrappers can be built. These are not absolutes, of course, as we certainly know that James Joyce wrote some impressive novels, and who amongst us believes that we are going to build a sky scrapper by ourselves. The one special quality that REBOL offers over many other languages is the stuff of alchemy: not only the ability to know about itself, but to change itself into something quite different. It is the jump from the hand carved printing block to moveable type. REBOL is not unique in this capacity, of course, nor do many people take advantage of this feature. But like the lawyer who can wiggle his/her words as needed, its nice to know that it *can* be done when needed. ;-) Thanks for sharing your ideas. --Scott Jones