Comments on: R3.0 Plan for October 2009
September began with discussions and analysis about possible changes to the main web sites and thoughts about how to improve REBOL's message, marketing, promotion, etc. There were many comments on it, and I still go back and re-read, re-consider some of them.
All of this still weighs heavily on my mind. To most of techies, building and modifying websites often seems like trivial work... until you are faced with the realization that REBOL.com consists of more than 10000 files and REBOL.net has more than 64000. Then, you start doing the math... "if we can handle reworking 10 files a day..." It soon begins to look like a huge task.
That's when I become truly grateful that the site was built using REBOL, because many of those files can be rapidly reprocessed, reformatted, split or joined, or otherwise converted into whatever we require. For example, the new R3 Docs were converted from the old R2 docs (750 pages) in about a day. Certainly, there's more to do, but every bit helps.
However, I weigh that effort against the other side of the spectrum, such as clicking off 10 Curecode tickets a day toward the completion of R3. Frankly, that usually wins out because the R3 project has gone on too long to let it slow down now... as we approach the finish line.
And, with that being said, a lot of September went into parse improvements. It began with a few minor changes, but soon it descended into a full rewrite, twice. But, a lot was accomplished, and parse is really looking good. It's a powerful tool now, isn't it?
Last month I also gave out the Project Plan link for you to look over. Some of you were alarmed at what was missing. But, I would not draw too many conclusions from it. That page is now editable, so if you've got the power (you must have an adequate R3 Chat rating), you can edit it.
Also, start thinking about what you can do to help on that list. For example, a few people were looking for multitasking (smart-threads) on the list. While the lower level design already exists, various remaining issues can be solved by some of the experts in our development community. For example, what is needed on Linux and OS X to build a nice, portable threading model (with per-thread local storage.) It exists, but needs definition... and not a whole lot of code either. Another issue is which mezzanine functions require cleanup to avoid shared memory situations.
Goals For October
They're about the same as they were for September. But, actually, those were stated in a much too general way (not clear and measurable.)
- Revise the Project Plan to make it clear what the next focus is and estimate how long it will take. For example, last month PARSE was the focus, it needed to be done, although it took twice as long as estimated.
- Make R3 fixes to get CureCode down to less than 80 open tickets. Can it be done? Well... how's that for a measurable goal?
- Continue to nibble away at document revisions for R3 Docs. I realize that programmers are not usually good writers, but even if you notice a line or two missing, or know of a good example, add it. (If you need higher R3 Chat ranking, mention it!)
- A few offers have been made to improve things like the mailing list. Many developers would like to see that happen, so let's figure it out and do it.
- Improving the main website is more difficult, but I do have a plan. I'd really like to take just a few days this month making changes. I think there are just a few beginning challenges, that once handled, will allow for more continuous updates.
Not sure if Parse is already finished (USE, LIMIT, OF ... remaining to do?), but if so, we should update the project plan. We started REBOL3 Priorities group on Altme, and ppl started to express their wishes.
I think that you could log in, and we could sort it out. We want agreed-upon priorities, and not wild editing of wiki-doc by many ppl, competing in "my priority is the most important" manner :-)
What many ppl seem to prefer so far, is update to Extensions, Max is writing some specs too. Ppl are looking especially to support for device and callback support, as well, as support for images, vectors.
As for concurrency, many will want it to be there for 3.0, as many ppl perceive it as being a fundamental Core feature, which influences their plans.
Some ppl still wish even View/VID as being a part of the release, but I am not sure it is your plan for 3.0 Beta?
As for website, I am of course interested in more details, as we held some good discussions in the past in R3 Alpha AltME world.
PRIORITY TASK: Updated CENTOS on REBOL.NET to install PHP5 and the new MediaWiki Software which supports page translations via template.
Provide REBOL3 documentations in many language
Port REBOL DOCUMENTATION PROJECT files and translate them from french.
Import documentation from all around the world which otherwise will be lost forever because it tends to disappear; translate it.
If no one will do this for FREE a I available to give 100$ (and obviusly other people should put money too) to pay someone for this JOB.
Please take me into consideration. The project is blocked since january 2008. We are near the end of the second YEAR !
Why not an online poll? One list for 'Wants' and one for 'Expect' for the R3 release.
I for one would definitely want threads in R3, and I expected VID to be apart of the release also.
Threads? Who needs threads with REBOL? With REBOL/Services and async calls, who needs threads?
Let the OS handle instances. REBOL is like 600 KB. Who needs threads?
Threads is such a C++ bad answer looking for a problem.
Johnny Reb, though R3 is around 600 KB on disk, it decompresses to several MBs in RAM. Start enough instances and that adds up. Tasks would allow us to share that overhead. Also, there are some platforms that don't have multi-instance applications, just multiple tasks/threads within a single instance, if even that (I'm looking at you, iPhone). It would be helpful if R3's concurrency model can scale down too.|
Pekr, I will try to finish my draft by tomorow, maybe I'll need to revise it a few times.
I have to review it seriously a few times, cause it looks like a "to good to be true" idea, spanning several low-level systems which could use the same high-level architecture...
But Then I remember that this is exactly what rebol is in the first place, an orthogonal model wrapped over disparate constructs. :-)
Why not an online poll? One list for 'Wants' and one for 'Expect' for the R3 release.
I like this suggestion Luis. Then the community can vote on suggestions. Could be driven with email confirmation so it could remain somewhat fair.
When rethinking the home page, remember that every decision counts. I've rewritten my graphic design pitch:
Words count too. If you look across the home page and it says REBOL in ALL CAPS several times, you call out the association with COBOL and it makes sentences containing the word look awkward. Rather than start at the left and read to the right, you jump to this funny all-caps word.
Contrast with PYTHON and RUBY. PHP did okay because it is short and you read the acronym as the name. But your language is not called Arr-E-Bee-Oh-Ell.
The icon and casing are very simple decisions. I only point it out to show that one can take a very scientific approach--one step at a time. Get some test subjects who aren't part of the community already and ask them what they think. You can use tools like Amazon Mechanical Turk or Crowdflower to get large amounts of feedback quickly.
("Does this icon look professional? Modern? What do you think it represents? [insurance company, programming language, video game]? Let us say this is the icon for a programming language, would you get the impression that language is more efficient than the language represented by these intertwining snakes?")
The most important thing for a relaunch, IMO, is a TryRebol. To use the vernacular of my marketing-savvy roommate "it can be selling even while you're asleep". I ported it and started making a stab at a tutorial... didn't see you comment or throw in any ideas. Pleeeeease do.
(at)Ben (Zap): Thanks :)
(at)Hostile Fork: You've picked up on another 'little' thing that adds to how Rebol (oops! erm REBOL...) is percieved, in my mind, to passers by. Stuff like this in the 'What is REBOL' page:
'Relative Expression Based Object Language'
'lightweight domain-specific sublanguages and micro-formats'
Yes, the page does contain a 'translation' of sorts, but for the casual passer by this doesn't mean much (and Maxim's 'orthogonal model wrapped over disparate constructs' feels as though it's lacking 'coated in a light chocolate flavoured wafer biscuit'. Well, to me anyhow...). For someone who hasn't studied maths, a 'tangent' is a 'digression'.
For those with an understanding of the _need_ for 'constructors' and 'destructors' I suppose the pages look fine, but for the occassional coder/passer by, they are terms better understood under a non-programming context.
I don't think making the site occassional coder/passer by or even kid friendly needs to be driven by a lower common denominator, that would be insulting to the intelligence, but you can make it attractive by making it shiny (in the Firefly sense).
Btw: That green vector 'O' looks cool!
Ooops, I think I went a little OT there... :)
I'm off to find me a tangent to ride...
Regarding marketing, I notice that REBOL/View now is just an executable file that does not get installed; one just downloads it and runs it. Of course that makes it very simple to download it and use it, but I wonder, would there be any benefit in getting it pre-installed on new computers? With downloading, people still have to seek it out. With pre-installation, it is just there.
I have wondered about trying perl, python, etc. but haven't gotten around to it because I'm a bit lazy and there seems to be a bit of effort involved in finding, unpacking, installing.
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