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[REBOL] Re: What language am I looking for?

From: joel:neely:fedex at: 17-May-2001 10:08

Hi, Geoff, Geoff Caplan wrote:
> We are playing with an idea for a code generator that will produce > highly confurable web applications without the usual birds-nest of > conditional code. This will obviously be easier with a highly > dynamic and introspective language, which is why we are looking at > Rebol. >
While I'm sure it's not at the level of sophistication that your description implies, I've written a site generator which uses XML to express the structure, navigation, and search information for a site, then constructs the entire site (including per-page navigation links) using html templates. I wrote the first version in Perl, then rewrote it in REBOL. The REBOL version is still in daily use.
> But this thread has alerted me to the possibilities of Lisp... > > I had always seen Lisp as a backwater for AI specialists, but it > is clear that there is a healthy little community who are using > it for general programming, and claiming very substantial payoffs > in terms of pruductivity, power and elegance. As one of the oldest > languages, it obviously has the edge over Rebol in terms of > maturity. And as there are compilers that output ASCII C is is > pretty portable. >
I would agree with your characterization of LISP. I have, in fact, often described REBOL as being like "LISP without the parentheses". I'd suggest that REBOL has a few advantages on its side of the ledger: 1) Platform independence - IIRC, REBOL/Core runs on 40+ platforms (and counting). The site generator I mentioned above can run unchanged on Windows, MacOS, HP-UX, Solaris, and Linux. I've often moved my development effort from platform to platform, working on whatever box is conveniently at hand, then simply carrying the code to the next. I've NEVER had breakage as a result of such movement. Color me happy! 2) Built-in networking - How could it be any easier? write %localdir/localfile read http://server/path/file and many other similar variations. 3) Compactness (both of source code and run-time system) - How many languages these days fit entirely on one 3.5-inch floppy, complete with documentation and a generous library of samples?
> I would be interested in the comments of anyone who has hands-on > experience of working in Rebol and Lisp. They would certainly > seem to have much in common. What are the strengths and weak- > nesses of the two approaches? >
See the above, although I must confess that my LISP/Scheme experience is a bit dated by now. Hope this helps! -jn-