[REBOL] Re: What language am I looking for?
From: gjones05:mail:orion at: 13-May-2001 10:11
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
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!
Original submission from: "Ken Anthony"