REBOL Technologies

Anthropomorphic REBOL?

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
5-Sep-2006 19:06 GMT

Article #0294
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At times in discussions, documentation, or error messages, REBOL may be treated as a living entity. It's not done that often, but some users find it annoying.

I remember that it was annoying in the Logo programming language. If you typed "foo", the system would respond:

I don't know how to foo

REBOL does not go that far.

On the other hand, some users find a degree of anthropomorphism to be useful. It gives them another "mind tool" to help them program REBOL.

For example, in R2.0:

>> insert 1
** Script Error: insert expected series argument of type: series port bitset

This wording was intentional. I selected that message because it put the most important element, the function name, first. However, that does make it sound a bit anthropomorphic. Just a bit.

As an experiment, in R3.0, I changed the error to:

>> insert 1
** Script Error: integer not allowed as the series argument of insert

Is that error more clear? Here the offending datatype gets first position, and the function gets the tail.

I've not gone through all the error messages and made this kind of change. The above was just a test, and right now, such changes are a lower priority over getting the system to alpha release.

But, it is something to think about. Some users care about it, others do not. I am posting this note just to get the issue into the open. I'll come back and review the comments when it comes time to revise the error messages and other documentation.

37 Comments

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