Revisiting The Riddle of the .r

When Rebol was thinking about coming out of the shadows and participating in the greater programming community, it seemed like trying to own the .r file extension was a bit misguided.

After all: a well established and much more popular statistical language was using it. It was also out first--it came out in 1993, 4 years before Rebol's 1997.

...aaand the name of the language actually was "R". Which isn't a name to get very excited about, so it's not like there was going to be some argument like "no, WE want to call our language R!"

It seemed syntax highlighters on programming sites were not going to be allocating .r to Rebol.

Hence it seemed no problem to just go with changing to .reb - an improvement, even. Communicated more.

...But In The Timeless World...

Since that time, things have changed:

  • I've become more partial to the lack of "noise" when listing files in a directory when they end in .r ... it makes the important part of the filename pop more.

  • I had to help someone with their school project a couple years ago written in R. I was not impressed with it. While it has had growth lately, I think that growth just has more to do with the importance of data science... and does not reflect on the language itself (syntax/paradigm) having any particular merit. It's just been around a long time and people are looking at data more.

  • Collisions in file extensions have led syntax highlighters to use more heuristics, driven by the file content as well as the overall content of a source repository. It looks like this will only become more the way things work in the future.

  • Ren-C is renaming, to another name, which starts with R... :rabbit: :raccoon: :recycle: :rocket: :robot:

  • The strength of Ren-C's hand has been growing, and I think if it keeps going it might have strength to impose some aspect of its will. Sharing the .r file extension may be something people are ready to just accept. (With a much weaker hand, Red managed to push along a claim on the choice of "red"...though it does seem to screw them a bit on searchability.)

So What Do People Think?

Is rolling back to the historical .r a good way to detach a little more from the "Rebol" brand name, while still fitting into the ecology?

It's a thought. No rush, just wanted to put the question out there.

1 Like

I believe R's file extensions should be .R anyway (capitalised). That reduces some ambiguity.

Even better, thanks!

It's not like Rebol's claim on .r is all that shaky, there's a pretty big and established script library, that was being built up while neither Rebol nor R were very well known:

http://www.rebol.org/st-topic-details.r?tag=//all

In any case, welcome, and please do introduce your self and/or interests in the Redbol world in the Introductions category:

As long as the name will not suggest a file extension of .rip I think I can live with it.