REBOL Technologies

Speeding Up REBOL Development

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
15-Mar-2005 0:45 GMT

Article #0140
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Some of you are asking: how can we help make changes and improvements to REBOL happen faster?

When it comes to making changes, I have found that there are two general classes of software development projects:

  1. Those that can be done in a short period of time. These include things like bug fixes (most but not all), small new functions, and document improvements. The new-line function that was added recently is an example, and this blog system is another example.

  2. Those that take a longer period of time because they require a lot more thought and several iterations of prototypes to help perfect the technology. An example of this is REBOL itself (which rewritten from scratch many times over many years in order to become what it is today), but also subsystems like VID (visual interface dialect), the AGG draw enhancements, REBOL/Services, and many other features.

There are relatively few projects that are in-between these two, but they do exist. They include projects like adding a new datatype or protocol to REBOL. These are not that complicated to do, but require a lot more testing and documentation because of the inter-relationships with other parts of REBOL.

But, let's get back to the original question of how we can accelerate development? I think it is definitely possible to do so. Software development is more than just writing code. In fact for most projects the test code takes almost as long to write as the actual system code itself. Then, there is the documentation part of it, and that should not be underestimated.

So, to answer the question, as I've said before, I think we need more REBOL community involvement, especially from people who are skilled in REBOL code, or skilled in C code development, or in writing documentation, etc.

But, we know all this already, don't we? We've talked about it a few times before, haven't we? The real issue is this: How can we coordinate on all these development projects, regardless of what they happen to be, but in a useful and organized manner?

The answer... I assure you is... REBOL/Services. This is more than just a technology, this is an approach that lets us, in just a few pages of code, write complete solutions to make it easier for us to share information and collaborate on a wide range of projects.

So, REBOL/Services is what we call the critical path. Until it is ready and released into your hands, everything else is going to be on hold. I realize this is a frustrating state to be in. But, once we've broken through that barrier, a lot of new and wonderful things become possible. Then, it's going to be in your hands. The community will then have the power to move REBOL forward at light speed.

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