Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Why rebol matters -- NOT!

Author:Jacob Levy
Posted:9/3/1999; 5:40:22 PM
Topic:Why rebol matters -- NOT!
Msg #:10547
Prev/Next:10546 / 10548

OK, so Rebol is supposed to be new because it allows you to define new control structures, which is a more technical way of saying "dialecting". This is hardly new, in fact it is a property of the entire family of functional languages, starting with the venerable Lisp 1.15 interpreter written by John McCarthy himself.

OK, so Rebol contains a lot of useful data types and protocols. Again, not new. What *is* new is the level of integration. Having all of these weapons in your arsenal can allow you to write really tight and concise code.

But the strict left-to-right evaluation order means that even an automaton cannot parse the programs, let alone a user. Parsing the token stream produced by a lexer for Rebol is impossible because it is not possible to determine which are the arguments and which are the functions. This means the language probably must be interpreted, unless I'm missing something essential. I know I'm probably going to get flacked for this comparison but here goes anyways: Among the other languages that have this property, the one that comes to mind most is APL also known as Anti-Program-Legibility or write-once code :).

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