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  • Rebol – Internet Programming Language

    Posted on March 28th, 2005 Alan 4 comments

    REBOL is a proprietary scripting computing language…messaging language that is succinct, quick to learn, and almost heroically portable.

    Rebol Home Page
    Rebol overview
    Rebol Links
    Rebol Review
    Rebol Review #2

    From what I can tell, Rebol seems to be
    a viable language for internet programming.
    However, I don’t know that I could recommend it.

    1. First there is the cost.  It costs money to develop for it and server versions of the software
    costs thousands of dollars
    2. You would be
    committing to a platform that is dependent on the viability of a small company. 
    Since it isn’t open source, the future of Rebol is in the hands of the company
    behind it.
    3. Though their may
    be a vibrant community supporting it, it is not widespread.  Trying to hire for
    Rebol support unless you are willing to work remotely, could be a challenge. 

    4. Compared to other
    tools/technologies, the documentation, sample code and support is not
    large.
    5. I don’t know any
    significant programs/companies that use Rebol.
    6. Most of the
    articles I read on the web, especially those touting it, are 4 years
    old.

    An example of its
    "power".  You can send an email with a command similar to:


    send someone@email.com "The message."

    Cool, a single
    line of code to send an email. But that Rebol
    command ‘send’ had to be written (in C I believe). That same function could have
    been written in C and made available in a library and the syntax might look like this:

    send("someone@email.com"The message.");

    Pretty much the same
    thing.  The fact it is "built-in" to the language, and makes the language "expressive", people will argue is a
    wonderful thing, and it IS nice, but that argument is not sufficient to motivate me to learn a new programming paradigm..

     

    4 responses to “Rebol – Internet Programming Language”

    1. Just noticed this, it appearing in Technorati today. So, a few comments.

      1. First there is the cost. It costs money to develop for it and server versions of the software costs thousands of dollars

      Both REBOL/Core and REBOL/View are free for both private and commercial use. See: http://www.rebol.com/download.html

      2 through 6 are mostly true, though RT is feeling the waters regarding open-source. See Carl’s Blog (no relation:) at http://www.rebol.net/cgi-bin/blog.r – specifically: http://www.rebol.net/article/0086.html

      What I like about REBOL is I can use the same language for server-side work as well as desktop clients and applications; it’s cross-platform; data is code and code is data so it can be a markup language too, plus it’s really nice to use once you’ve learnt it. It’s much deeper than the simple send-an-email-with-one-line suggest.

    2. Sending email is not exactly the niftiest use of Rebol, I agree. I was more impressed by the datatypes. Money and time values can be expressed in a more natural fashion than I’ve ever managed with C or even Perl. I like the whole “code is data is code” aspect of Rebol. It has made it easier for me to write some programs compared to C and Perl. On the other hand, you get the same aspect out of Lisp, and Lisp is a lot larger and more mature. As Carl pointed out, you can use most of the Rebol functionality for free, and RT is toying with using a proper open source licence. We’ll see where that goes.

      (six ‘one) or half-dozen :other
      :-)

    3. GPL = Copy Leftist … If you read their “license” and comprehend Contract Law, you’d know that technically, any product you make from GPL licensed software is the LEGAL PROPERTY of GNU.

      Secondly, persons for years have made cash (BIG DOLLARS CASH) using “closed source” softare, like dBase, Excel, Access, MS SQL, Informix, Oracle, etc.

      So you false beliefs inculcated into your head from your elite socialist masters just limit your world view and force you to defend invisible borders within your mind.

    4. Hello Alan,

      I know this is an old post, but I’m only recently looking at REBOL. I found it when I was looking for any discussion that might have been going on about Rebol Technologies open-sourcing the language.

      You observed here in 2005 that most articles about REBOL on the web are 4 years old… well those articles are now 8 years old! Not much going on to the eyes of the general public. Though actually, there is something going on—oddly enough, the creation of a new incompatible version (REBOL 3). But some of the slow perfectionism is actually very interesting to me, I’m writing an article series on it, have three so far:

      http://hostilefork.com/2008/09/08/is-rebol-actually-a-revolution/
      http://hostilefork.com/2008/09/10/major-quirks-of-the-rebol-language/
      http://hostilefork.com/2008/09/05/the-flexible-series-as-a-core-concept-of-rebol/

      I try to get at some of the issues of what makes it novel, and I do think there’s something new in it. It just seems that the desire to tightly control the evolution and development has held it up while Ruby and Python have come in and become more relevant. From my experience so far, I like REBOL more as a language, so it’s somewhat disappointing this has been the path they chose.

      Anyway, enjoyed reading a bit of your blog. I’m always interested to find programmers with an interest in religion. A sense of cosmic Right vs. Wrong truly does seem to correlate with doing good design, e.g. Don Knuth’s work (he’s Christian). Whether I’m religious myself or not, I certainly approach programming as if it were a religion :) … so maybe you’d like something on my blog too.

      Regards,
      HF

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