[REBOL] Boron, Red, Topaz, World Action Fills Void While REBOLverse Awaits R3

Posted on Sunday, 2012-March-04. Filed under: REBOL | Tags: , , , , |

As the REBOL-using universe waits somewhat impatiently for the release of Rebol3, leading devs have stood up to help bring Rebol-like syntax and simplicity to certain subsets of functionality. Do not forget that Rebol2 is still available from the Rebol site.

Boron is the latest iteration in a series of Rebol and Forth-like languages developed by the Urlan project. As such, it is not really new. In fact, Boron is an official scripting language of the Syllable operating system. I have recently been playing with it on my 64-bit GNU+Linux system (currently running Sabayon KDE). It does not implement enough of Rebol to do the standard tutorials, meanwhile adding some things of its own.

Red is a Rebol-alike language that is being written. The current status is that Red/System, the core of the language, is being written using Rebol. The rest of the language will then be written using Red/System, and then Red/System will be rewritten in Red. Red is exciting, because the primary developer has long been active in the Rebol community. I believe he was also the person behind the now-defunct R-Sharp project on SourceForge, as well as the Cheyenne Rebol-powered web server.

Topaz is a Rebol-alike that compiles into JavaScript and runs in the browser on Node.js. I’ve barely even looked at it, since there are dozens or hundreds of other languages which do this. The hook with Topaz is that its syntax is Rebol.

World looks to be a compiled language written in C that has its own VM. The developer seems to be focused on making it easy to use outside assets (DLLs and so on) inside of World.

I believe there is a need for an online textbook for Rebol-alike languages that introduces concepts and syntax, shows examples, and helps jump-start people’s creativity. Differences would need to be discussed early on, or perhaps each “chapter” should have flags: R2, R3, World, Topaz, Boron, Red. Perhaps RebolTutorial will have more content soon.

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