If You Plan To Evolt Join The Rebols
Posted on 05 Sep 1999
by William Byrd (wcb4)
Rated 3.74 (Ratings: 1)
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Rebol bills itself as an internet messaging language, and that seems to be exactly what it is first and formost, but with lots of little tricks up its sleeve.
While Perl is somewhat cross-platform (not all, but many script will run on other platforms with some modifications) Rebol already knows about the differences in your operating systems (in a file name / and \ are the same to rebol, so the script will work on windows or un*x) so your scripts WILL run on other operating systems.
Just how many other operating systems. At present Rebol has been ported to 36 different variants of popular operating systems including (but not limited to) 68k Mac OS, PPC Mac OS, windows 95/98/NT, linus alpha/intel/ppc, aix, solaris, amiga and the list goes on. They expect ports to 50 by the end of the year.
How powerful is Rebol? For those of you who program in Perl, just answer this question in your own mind: If you wanted to pull a web page from the web, and email its contents to 3 people, how many lines of Perl would it take? Well, here's the equivalent rebol code:
list make block! [email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com]
send list read http://www.domain.com/page.html
That's right, 2 lines!
While Rebol may not have the extreme text processing capabilities that Perl does, it can do just about everything that your backend cgi scripts could ever want. urls, time, money, strings, lists and blocks are all native data types for Rebol, so time comparisons and loops are a breeze, files can be written/saved/read via net protcols (http, ftp etc)
Sometimes Perl is the answer, at least I hope so, since its part of how I make my living, but sometimes its like trying to kill a fly with a bazooka. Rebol seems to be designed to allow novices to make scripts that will make a site interactive with a minimum of training, the code reads almost like English in some cases (and for non-English speaking spreaders, any of the command words in the language can be aliased to your native language within the language itself), but that's the novice. When you can do in 2 lines of Rebol what would take dozens of lines of Perl, I think the professionals in the audience see the possibilities.
And in case you are asking the one big question that the folks I know who take already looked into rebol have asked. Yes, ODBC support (ability for the script to communicate with databases on the back end) will be included in the October release of REBOL/command.
Rebol can be downloaded at: http://www.rebol.com