Comments on: For your comments on priorities...
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: For your comments on priorities...

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
5-Jan-2007 1:08 GMT

Article #0317
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For your reading enjoyment you may want to visit REBOL Priorities for 2007. Short and sweet. But, it's not a blog, so no room for comments. Therefore, you can post your comments here, and I will read them.



6-Jan-2007 3:14:49
There is a typo in the diagram image. Instead of IOS, it states ISO.

Also the part describing IOS and Altme merge - wasn't Altissimo used as a name? You did not mention it there. Not that it is important, but you already mention Coop "old name" for DevBase ...

And as for WildMan - new name for what was planned initially as a MagmaOS? Standalone RebolOS? That is really interesting, although I would like to see extensible, easily portable, deployable R3 first, ported to Windows Mobile, Symbian :-)

6-Jan-2007 5:23:30
Happy to hear back from IOS! And Safeworld being involved in that project is a great news.

I've always wish to find IOS (or a product not too far) available via a simple download with a simple test trial policy (like much other product). Individuals, small business or bigger, would test this master piece of software in a minute and be convinced straight away! Yes, it's start 07 and collaborative application is still a market place because there's nothing convincing available at the moment.

I Hope de best to everybody here.

6-Jan-2007 14:31:29
WildMan seems a very interresting idea. It could be so many things.

Rebol based Operating System ? A virtual machine runing on existing operating system ? Rebol booting USB key (My portable desktop) ? Based upon a opensource kernel ? Linux ? FreeBSD ? What kind of file systems ? What about drivers ? Windowing system included in rebol ?

Any precisions ?

Blunt but fair
6-Jan-2007 23:09:29
>> WildMan seems a very interresting idea. It could be so many things.

WildMan is a device to fire imaginations and obscure the fact that there is little new on the list from prior years.

7-Jan-2007 5:47:21
hello, why not an os running on gpu rather than cpu? A new opengl fashion,for instance,offering many more than graphics.
Dave Cope
7-Jan-2007 6:28:23
The IOS/Altme tie up looks very interesting. If priced for individuals and small organisations, I could see it as a main app where I work. Even better if it could be cutomised in terms of colours/fonts etc to fit in with in-house apps.

Wildman - Embedded Rebol? My wish list:
Load from flash based ROM.
SVGA view graphics.
Can run without video and program via RS232 console.
RS232/485 is a must.
Low level I/O also for controller applications.
Touch screen interface.
Running on standard X86 embedded boards.

I can see a big market for this. Rapid development with Rebol, inteactive on the target board - wow!

Still, I'd prefer to see Rebol 3 completed and finish off some of the things that seem to slip (for understandable reasons) like services, browser plug-in on more platforms.

Good luck with you plans for 2007.

Paul T.
8-Jan-2007 8:56:51
I think the wildman project seems most interesting to me. If we are talking about REBOL Operating System then I like to see priority on that. I would love to be able to have any REBOL that can do low level disk i/o routines.
John Niclasen
8-Jan-2007 15:31:31
Looks like some good plans!

I think, it's very important, that REBOL works the same on all platforms supported. I find, that this is true for Core, but not quite for View. When new things are introduced in the language, it really should be supported across all platforms. It's not in anyones interest to have a situation, where parts of the userbase have to wait months or years for parts of the language found on one platform. That should have priority.

As a developer, I would feel better by releasing a product based on REBOL or write a book about REBOL, if I knew, it would work on all platforms supported.
Artem Hlushko
9-Jan-2007 10:08:35
Wildman is a "secret project" that examines the question: what is the minimal environment for running REBOL? Can REBOL operate natively on specific hardware, and if it did, what components would be necessary to be successful?

What do you think about CLR (.Net) as an environment (specific "hardware") for Rebol?

Frank D.
13-Jan-2007 7:10:14
REBOL Wildman is an interesting idea, an idea that follows naturally from REBOL's ability to run on so many platforms.

But, as a commercial priority I am not sure how the general user population would react.

Would REBOL Wildman runs instead of current operating systems, or would Wildman run on top of, that is, simultaneously with and independently of current operating systems?

15-Jan-2007 4:34:54
I agree whith Frank. We don't know what's behind WildMan but we hope that's not a big time consuming project.

Personally, I hope that RT will focus on

  • A stable Rebol Core/View/Pro/Command/SDK
  • Available on 3 main plaforms (Win XP/Vista, MacOS X & Linux)
  • With Unicode support
  • With Mature GUI dialect (with drop down menu, trees and "OS like" skins)
  • Provided with strong development environment : complete documentation and IDE (plugin for eclipse)
  • A New sexy website with public discussion forum
Everything else is secondary (for me)

15-Jan-2007 12:03:34
and with SSL please:)
16-Jan-2007 13:59:20
I agree with Goldevil & oldes comments. With regard to features, I think support for unicode (UTF-8) is very important. I'd also love to see improvements to parse (such as Gabriele's compile-rules) which could enable more more robust dialects.
Alex Kerr
16-Jan-2007 17:59:11
REBOL on mobile please, and ASAP. There is huge potential right now for REBOL in that market place. As for mobile platform, forget Windows Mobile - I know it has some traction in the States but is regarded as pure rubbish elsewhere in the world (and rightly so). Symbian is the obvious target, but aiming if somehow possible for Nokia's series 40 and similar specced devices from other manufacturers would be the holy grail.

There are 2.7 billion mobiles out there now, it's where the web is going, and if REBOL want to be more than a footnote in tech history (and you should be given how good your technology is), you need to be in mobile as a priority. Otherwise we'll have to put up with the likes of FlashLite which is rapidly getting a foothold. Deals with handset manufacturers would be a good start. And remember the US market is behind the rest of the world by quite some months if not years, so look to Europe for inspiration!


17-Jan-2007 13:10:22
Let's summarize: * RT should focus on the three major platforms (Windows/Linux/MacOSX), plus mobile (such as phones & PDAs), ensuring that the language is compatible across platforms. * Unicode is essential (UTF-8 especially), as the greatest potential growth is in Asia. * Mature development tools, integration with Eclipse, NetBeans, Visual Studio, Borland tools, Emacs / Xemacs * A more OS-native-looking GUI toolkit. * And a few of my own hopes: predefined namespaces/dialects for easy deployment of targetted applications/services to SMB customers, with robust and scalable server applications (e.g., directory service, shared-file service, mail & Jabber instant messaging service, and an intranet application service [http+dbms+REBOL-scripted pages+simple cms/wike/blog tool] that exposes APIs for easy access from Java, C#, VB, VBScript, VB.Net, Perl, Python, KiXtart, Regina or Open Object REXX, and batch/shell scripts) * Some more REBOL books, from the getting started level all the way to implementing your SMB mail server with REBOL.

But we all know that RT is a small company with limited resources. Therefore, Carl, I would ask you to tell the community which of these things I listed are things that the community itself needs to step in and help you with. Even if it means quietly giving encouragement and specifications to the R-Sharp and ORCA people in order to strengthen the community, because you know and we do too that there is a limited time window and then the opportunity will be gone, just as it was with Be Inc / BeOS.

Let's get a few people writing some books, and the rest of us asking O'Reilly to publish some books (and maybe put up an "" site like their Again, we need beginner books, we need intermediate books, we need books that do the step-by-step with screenshots thing, we need books that go deeper into the "whys" of things like redefinable keywords (seriously--in most languages, the meanings of the language's keywords can't be changed by programmers, so this is a hard concept to wrap one's head around), and we need to show how one can integrate REBOL-based applications into a new or existing small / medium-sized business network.

Again, Carl, we know that RT cannot do all these things alone. REBOL has a small, but enthusiastic, community around it, and I believe it can grow. It just needs for the community to understand what part it needs to play in this growth.

17-Jan-2007 14:25:18
>> Let's get a few people writing some books, and the rest of us asking O'Reilly to publish some books

REBOL needs a big bump in demand before a publisher will take a gamble. In order to help make that happen, I think the community needs better quality online docs.

To get books and/or documentation on track, Carl might consider taking a few authors under his wing, divulging key implementation notes/specs, answering questions, and reading drafts. Authors need a strong foundation-- speculation about concepts, behaviors or feature implementations is not their forté. Cultivation and access can help change that.

IMHO collaboration in a wiki or other forum may be a positive step, but it doesn't address the real challenges faced by writers.

18-Jan-2007 2:58:28
About rebol on mobile devices, it's certainly a very interesting target. Rebol has a bigger natural space because there are less competitors on these platforms :
  • Java
  • C
  • C++

There are 3 main platforms :

  • Symbian (Nokia, Sony-Ericsson)
  • MS Windows Mobile (many PDA's)
  • Palm OS 5+ (Palm only)

About the Mac OS X version inside the Apple iPhone, let's wait a year before focus on that one. ;-)

Nokia Series 40 is very different of Series 60 Symbian devices and the OS is much more limited. Is it possible to run Rebol applications on these devices ? Is it useful ?

What version of rebol should be supported ? Certainly rebol/view because all these devices use graphical applications. SDK also, to propose commercial applications. Rebol/pro features ? Rebol/command features ? IOS/Altme ? A mobile version of IOS ?

Maybe the VID dialect has to be replaced by another dialect with smaller memory footprint, some simplifications (eg: windows resizing is sometimes impossible on mobile devices) and some games oriented functions.

Why games ? It's a major market on mobile devices.

Is the dialect needs skinning features ? A PalmOS app has a completely different look & feel than a Windows mobile app.

The portability of rebol applications is very interesting for targeting multiple OS. There are few mobile applications available on more than 1 platform. Even Java apps are targeted on 1 platform. It's a real opportunity for Rebol.

But I think that's also a big time consuming project.

18-Jan-2007 3:53:32
Well, lets face it: How long are cell phones going to keep using specialized embedded OS'es for their hardware?

I think the iPhone will shift the paradigm a bit to make more cell phones use a Linux or Windows kernel in order to provide advanced functionality, normally only found in desktop OS'es.

It's not that I'm against REBOL on cell phones, but I think it would be an awful waste of time trying to do that now, when we barely have a foothold on the desktop. Cell phones are a moving target and there are a ton of variations. If REBOL was ported to a specific cell phone OS, it'd be useless in 2-3 years, if the phones are switching to more advanced technologies anyway.

What does REBOL add to a cell phone? I saw an example with syncing to IOS, which would be perfect, but this is a specialized application, only relevant to current IOS users, so what else? Don't forget that for each light weight REBOL application for a cell phone, you need a light weight REBOL service running at the other end available for everyone. So far, what do we have? Close to zero.

It's a very small market for REBOL, despite there being billions of phones out there. At least wait until the phones have more horsepower. We need much more focus on R3.

18-Jan-2007 7:58:15
I was more thinking about PDA's and smartphones like nokia communicator than regular cellphones.

I agree with you about creating IOS applications. It's not a interesting market because it's a very narrow market.

But there are other kind of softwares where rebol could be interesting : Games (a very big market), messaging & instant messaging, application launcher, today screen, photo viewer, PIM replacement applications, dictionaries, scientific calculators, database, file manager, backup,...

18-Jan-2007 9:29:48
Although I'd welcome any progress, I personally don't expect to see REBOL (or a variant) on PDAs and smartphones until REBOL is released as open-source.

It's incredibly difficult to design a language that is good in all areas, devices and domains. Looking back ten years, I think Carl wanted to build something small, simple and special, and to see how far these core ideals could carry it.

This reminds me of a comment Bjarne Stroustoup made recently about the prospects for aspect-oriented programming:

"In computer science, a major new idea will succeed only if it is sufficiently capable in every relevant area. To succeed on a large scale, a new language must be good enough in all areas (even some the language designer has never heard of), rather than just superb at one or two things (however important).... to be 'the next big thing,' you have to provide major gains in an enormously broad range of application areas."

22-Jan-2007 17:07:23
WRT mobile phones and PDAs, PalmOS is fairly stagnant right now, while they rewrite their OS to run atop a Linux base. Linux in the mobile/PDA space has two standardized versions being developed that may or may not merge into one.

With the BSD-based Mac OSX entering the market through iPhone, it seems very premature to allocate limited developer time working on this market while it is in such flux. Unless the community's energies can be harnessed to help make this happen, it will have to wait until things in that market stabilize a little.

24-Jan-2007 17:57
Sorry for OT-ish post, but here is a good piece that sums up the criticality of documentation:

If It Isn't Documented, It Doesn't Exist

windows mobile is a pure
19-Feb-2008 16:37:55
As Alex Kerr said, it seems Microsoft's windows mobile is a pure rubbish. Liwen
4-Jul-2012 22:09:54
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