Feb 2024 Talk, Functional Programming Sydney

As a follow-up to this, the talk slides are now online: https://github.com/fp-syd/meetings/blob/master/2024/2024-02-Neimann-Computing-with-eval.pdf


Curious how it was received, any general comments or reactions?

Whenever I look at just the basic stuff these days I think: "Where's the beef?" There's just too much unresolved in it. In my book, Ren-C is what gives the idea any credence.

Generally people seemed interested. None of them are at all likely to use a Rebol language, of course, but they appreciated learning about a new paradigm.

One factor, I think, is the attendees mostly are Haskell or OCaml programmers, and few if any seemed familiar with Lisp. I’ve noticed that when talking about Rebol online, the most negative comments tend to come from Lispers, who are already familiar with how Lisps approach these concepts, and find Rebol weird and unprincipled. (And they may even be right — Lisps are generally far more rigorous than Ren-C, which is the best of the Rebols in this regard.)

In my presentation I was quite clear about this: the ‘beef’ is being able to manipulate code at runtime, allowing you to craft your own syntax for whichever problem is at hand. Other languages can do that to some extent (notably Lisps, R and Forth), but Rebols are best-in-class. People can disagree on whether that compensates for the various other oddities of Rebol, but either way, that’s where the key advantage lies.