Hi, I've been programming since the mid-70s, first in FORTRAN IV and the proprietary language of the Olivetti P652. Various BASICs around 1980. Then lots of C. Switched to Haskell as my primary language in 1992 (but don't really like the complexity it has acquired over time). For the little programming I do nowadays I use C++ when speed is an issue and I'm looking for a language for those occasions when it isn't as much an issue. That's how I encountered Rebol/RenC/Red a few weeks ago.
Hi @okram, glad you found us! What was it about our quirky language caught your eye?
The language-orientation caught my eye at first. The (related) notion of "meaning depending on context" drew me in more.
Hello @okram ...
I can speak pretty directly to your background, as I also started out on BASIC (Osborne 1) somewhere around the start of the 80s...and worked mostly with C and C++, with some pure-functional-programming envy and Haskell dabbling here and there.
Good to hear you're looking for something that can run slowly, as that is one of the few incoming expectations I can guarantee we can deliver on.
In terms of setting those expectations, Ren-C is still very much in the design process. It isn't pitched or advertised as something that is a good pick for one's professional obligations or if you care about deadlines--at least not at this time. It's more an off-the-beaten path exercise in programming meditation...a bit like a Zen gardening experiment. I hope it applies to more than that, but wouldn't promise it.
You seem to be doing a pretty good job of orienting yourself and seeing what the lay of the land is, but do post about any questions you have.
My opinion is that Rebol's "rebellious" anti-academic and anti-formalist roots painted it quickly into a corner (a corner that Red beelined for and is seemingly very happy in, for reasons that are beyond me). While every system hits limits in composability, you'd hit limits almost instantly if you veer off the script of the few examples. To me that winds up being much more like an "app" than truly a language...I feel the point of language is that if someone combines parts in ways that haven't been tried before, there's a basis for that working.
But what was interesting about Rebol2 to me is kind of like the story of what's impressive about a singing dog: it's not that the dog sings in tune, it's that it sings at all. The execution and binding model was painfully naive-seeming, and yet you could solve many tasks with it. Ren-C's effort is to get everything tuned up to where the language parts are more credible and composable, because I think Red's plan of just rehashing Rebol2 at a language-level is "we've already seen that, and it's old news".
It's a long hard effort, because the medium has inherent limits. But exploring it has shown some pretty interesting stuff, I think.