Mailing List Archive: 49091 messages
  • Home
  • Script library
  • AltME Archive
  • Mailing list
  • Articles Index
  • Site search

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

From: gjones05:mail:orion at: 13-May-2001 10:11

Hi, Ken, Thanks for taking the time to write such an articulate letter of query. If I had your skills of articulation, I would probably become a writer! We share similar roots (time-shared BASIC back in high school in the early seventies for me on a teletype machine -- oh, I still remember the heart-pounding pace of Star Trek through a 300 baud modem and the teletype ;-), but my career training took a different trek. As a self-described "advanced hobbyist", I've been on a similar search for the right language, but in my case the emphasis is on providing the most productivity for the least investment of grief, time and money. I'm not feeling particularly evangelical this morning, so no sales pitches will be forthcoming. After overcoming the inevitable paradigm shifts required in trying any new language, I suspect that a language will sell itself to those who can efficiently reach maximum expressivity for the tasks undertaken. But I can address a few of the questions/issues raised in your message. I think you've already touched on one of the most important issues that can affect a project of any significant size: scope and namespace.While the appropriate work-around has been clearly explained in the other message thread, I have to "pitch in" with Joel Neely that this approach seems disconcerting in a language that promotes itself for making easy things easy and for following the principle of least surprise. Open source languages allow the community to assess the inner workings that explain language behavior and to more readily assess alternative approaches that might appeal to the larger community. But I must give Rebol Technologies credit for being extremely response to the opinions expressed by the community, especially give their relatively small development team. However, let me urge some caution in what I believe you understand that the runtime versions will allow. I do not speak from authority, but since others have not addressed this issue, I'll at least throw in my understanding. The runtime license allows for the creation of a single, executable binary file that will hide your code, but I do not believe that it is compiled in the sense of creating a binary of machine code nor pseudo-code. If I understand correctly, it is merely a form of obfuscation, likely through compression, in the same way that one cannot see the large quantities of mezzanine-level REBOL code by viewing the REBOL executable file directly (one of the reasons that 500 kb of code can do so much). I suspect that there is no true performance benefit in creating a runtime. I would ask RT directly about that issue. VID is the dialect that RT has provided that allows for the easy programming of gui's. What seems to be no longer stressed, is that VID is just one implementation of the /View interface, accessible through the 'face object. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Doc Kimbel demo on a "Windows Skin" for /View will quickly demonstrate what can be accomplished outside of VID. I've not tinkered with this aspect, because VID or derivations thereof have largely met my needs, but I found some comfort in knowing that with some additional effort, it is possible to implement totally new 'face styles. As a side note, I have found the VID to be more approachable than Tk that is found in numerous other languages, but I suspect that that, too, is largely a reflection of personal preference. In terms of Rapid Application Development of a GUI, it is hard to beat VisualBASIC or Delphi's approach, in my opinion. I have become quite proficient in REBOL VID in a surprisingly short time (it took about a week of immersion in REBOL and REBOL VID to feel comfortable in both). The one other area that might become a gotcha for you is shifting to REBOL's method of parsing, as opposed to the variations of regular expression matching found in other languages. Like VID, it is a dialect that requires a little time for familiarity to grow. I'm not proficient in either approach, but my glimpses suggest that there is more room for easy extension of REBOL's parse. I suspect that it would be easier to emulate the regexp found in Tcl, than for regexp to emulate REBOL's parse, but this is just a guess. My only advice (unasked for, I know) is to actually implement a small or medium-sized personal project in REBOL before you consider tossing it into the bit bin. Like most, I suspect that you will be surprised, and like many, you may just get addicted. Final warning, this language has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration for routine use; as with all products, there may be a potential for addiction! Good luck with your language "vision quest." Maybe you and Carl Sassenrath can co-author the "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Programming Language Universe". Hey, maybe I should write that book --- dibs! With regards, --Scott Jones Original submission from: "Ken Anthony"