Learn Rebol - REBOL programming tutorial
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Category: Computer Basics/Computer Basics
Submitted on: 2011-02-23 23:34:09
Submitted By: Nick Antonaccio
REBOL is ultra compact. Its uncompressed file size is about 1/2 Meg on most platforms. It can be downloaded, installed, and put to use on all supported operating systems in less than a minute, even over a slow dialup connection.
REBOL can also be used immediately, without installation, on over 40 operating systems as a lightweight file manager, text editor, calculator, database manager, email client, ftp client, news reader, image viewer/editor, OS shell, and more. You can use it as a simple utility program with a familiar interface to common computing activities, on just about any computer, even if you're unfamiliar with the operating system.
REBOL includes GUI, network, graphics, sound, database, image manipulation, math, parsing, compression, CGI decoding, secure network services, text editing, and other functions built-in. No external modules, tool kits, or IDEs are required for any essential functionality.
REBOL is easy enough for absolute beginners and average computer users to operate immediately, but powerful and rich enough for a wide variety of complex professional work.
REBOL has useful built-in help for all available functions and language constructs.
REBOL is supported by a friendly and knowledgeable community of active developers around the world.
REBOL is available in both free and supported commercial versions. The free version can be used to create commercial applications, with very few license restrictions. Part of the REBOL language is open source, and that code is available directly in the interpreter. The closed components are kept in an escrow account, in case the Rebol Technologies company ever goes out of business (source code escrow licenses are available for those who use it in critical work).
REBOL has a facility for ultra fast performance using "Rebcode", which can be optimized like assembly language, but works the same way across all supported hardware and operating systems (using the exact same code).
REBOL was created by Carl Sassenrath, who developed the Amiga operating system executive in 1985 (the first preemptive multitasking OS kernel for personal computers). REBOL has been in commercial use since its first release in 1998, and a 3rd major release of the language is in active development as of 2009.
REBOL is a modern, multi paradigm development tool (procedural, object oriented, and functional), but its unique syntax goes well beyond traditional approaches to computer language design. REBOL code is typically much shorter and more readable than other languages, and REBOL is often far more productive than other development tools (very often, dramatically so). There's absolutely no simpler solution for cross-platform GUI creation, anywhere (the code for a complete program window with a button is simply: view layout [button] ). But that just scratches the surface. REBOL has a striking ability to simplify difficult computing tasks of all types, with straightforward, high level code dialects. No other development tool is as adept at creating practical domain specific languages. On a more basic level, the storage/manipulation/transfer of all data is managed by a single ubiquitous code structure. Arrays, lists, tables, and even sizable databases of mixed text, code, and binary data are all stored using one consistent "block" syntax. Blocks are created simply by surrounding any list of data with square brackets. Like everything else in REBOL, the format is extremely simple, but it enables many powerful features for searching, sorting, comparing, dissecting, evaluating, storing, retrieving, transferring and otherwise manipulating information of all types. Common network protocols and data values are also natively usable in REBOL. You can read and write data directly to/from web servers, email accounts, databases, and more, add/subtract time, date, and other values automatically, manipulate XML, HTML, CSV and other formats natively, display and apply effects to images, play sounds, etc., all without any preparation, complex formatting, or use of any external library code. REBOL has a built in, powerful "parse" dialect which elegantly replaces the need for regular expressions in most cases. The list of such practical features is long, but REBOL is not built from simple gimmicks - it's a deep and powerful tool. Because so many practical computing elements are all built into REBOL, and interact natively, the learning curve required to get real work done is much easier than in other development environments. No other language includes such straightforward and versatile mechanisms for accomplishing the most basic work of computers - managing data of all types.
REBOL is small, practical, portable, extremely productive, and different than the typical mess of modern computing tools. It does not rely on a large stack of disparate technologies to accomplish useful computing goals. All it's features exist inside one tiny downloadable executable that anyone can get running, on just about any computer, in less than a minute. It can be used as anything from compact utility application to powerful professional development environment. Even average computer users with absolutely no coding experience can learn to create real, useful and powerful REBOL scripts very quickly. More detail...