Discovering Words as ANY-STRING!

Rebol's extremely strange nature makes people wonder what they should or shouldn't be doing with it. When I tried writing basically my "first mezzanine" (COMBINE) long ago, I faced questions pretty much anyone writing such a primitive Should a WORD! be treated casually as if it were an ANY-STRING!?

 >> mode: 'depeche
 >> combine/with ["a" mode "b"] space
 == "a depeche b"

Back then, I didn't know if that should be an error or not. And if WORD! would be legal, should SET-WORD! too? Would it have a colon? Or was there a higher purpose for these things in the dialect, and should a variable holding one act the same as if one were literally present in the block?

Ren-C is on the path of thinking of "ANY-WORD!" as being strings is correct. Which led me to consider this piece of code from HELP:

for-each [a b] [
    "!" "-ex"
    "?" "-q"
    "*" "-mul"
    "+" "-plu"
    "/" "-div"
    "=" "-eq"
    "<" "-lt"
    ">" "-gt"
    "|" "-bar"
    replace/all item a b

What it is doing is pretty simple. It is trying to convert a Rebol name to one that is readable/safe to use in a URL, so the help website URL doesn't have "weird" characters in it.

But if we're all on board with WORD! as working as a string, do you really need all those quotes? Couldn't you say:

for-each [a b] [
    ! -ex
    ? -q
    * -mul
    + -plu
    / -div
    = -eq
    < -lt
    > -gt
    | -bar
    replace/all item a b

You can do that, though it won't work for everything. e.g. : would not be a legal WORD!. And | is BAR! how _ is a BLANK! must wonder, if those will "stringify" to be how they look. Is this a good practice?

What I want us to be saying clearly now is YES: it's a good practice and you can count on writing code like this. I think it's foundational to what Rebol is about.

Though as a matter of taste, I actually think the following looks slightly better, because using different types creates a kind of delimiting:

for-each [a b] [
    ! "-ex"
    ? "-q"
    * "-mul"
    + "-plu"
    / "-div"
    = "-eq"
    < "-lt"
    > "-gt"
    | "-bar"
    replace/all item a b

But that's just me. YMMV.

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