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How is REBOL Different?

REBOL is not a traditional computer language like C, BASIC, or Java. Instead, REBOL was designed to solve one of the fundamental problems in computing: the exchange and interpretation of information between distributed computer systems.

REBOL does this by integrating the concept of a programming language with that of a metadata language. It would be as if you could express and handle metadata directly in C/C++ code or efficiently write code algorithms directly in XML. REBOL accomplishes this through the concept of relative expressions (which is how REBOL got its name as the Relative Expression Based Object Language). In technical terms, REBOL is a meta-circular language. That is, REBOL acts as its own meta language.

Relative expressions, also called "dialects", provide greater efficiency for representing code as well as data, and they are REBOL's greatest strength. For example, REBOL can not only create a graphical user interface in one line of code, but it can also send that line as data to be processed and displayed on other Internet computer systems around the world.

REBOL's consistent architecture provides powerful range of capabilities, from its small kernel interpreter (called REBOL/Core) up to an entire Internet Operating System (called REBOL/IOS).


The ultimate goal of REBOL is to provide a new architecture for how information is stored, exchanged, and processed between all devices connected over the Internet. Unlike other approaches that require tens of megabytes of code, layers upon layers of complexity that run on only a single platform, and specialized programming tools, REBOL is small, portable, and easy to manage.

The size of REBOL applications (called "reblets") is important. Not only do they download in seconds (even over a modem or wireless) but because reblets are small, they are easier to create, modify, and enhance. Most REBOL applications, even serious applications that do useful things like build web sites, process credit cards, or share a calendar, are only 10-30 KB.

For example, the graphical slideshow application we use for presenting REBOL is only 9 KB. It looks like this:


Here is another example. This user status and activity monitor is only 7 KB:


Want more examples? Here are a variety of examples written in REBOL/View and here are some of the reblets written for IOS. Nearly all of these are less than 30 KB in size, yet they are efficient, distributed applications.

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