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Re: How to make GNU Guile more successful

From: Arne Babenhauserheide
Subject: Re: How to make GNU Guile more successful
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:00:10 +0100

Alejandro Sanchez writes:

> Thank you for you responses, I will try to respond to them all in one email.
>> About Emacs + Geiser as the default development environment
> Emacs is a power tool. Giving someone Emacs to write a simple script is like 
> handing someone a jackhammer to nail plywood together. OK, maybe I’m 
> stretching the analogy a bit, but when I think IDE I imagine something that 
> handholds people, for the better or worse. Sure, you could offer some sort of 
> pre-configured Emacs setup, but what’s the point of that?

The point of that is that every developer starts by doing small
things. Therefore the small startup things should work well.

I know many people at work who’ve been using Emacs for years but mostly
limit their use to what it provides by default.

What works well from the start is where most people will stay. And
that’s not unreasonable: If it doesn’t work now, how are the chances
that it will be better than something which works well right away?

>> About the syntax
> I know about wisp, but that looks like an awkward cross-breed between Python 
> and Lisp. Lisp syntax is simply something one needs to get over. For me it 
> really clicked when I understood that Lisp syntax is not really a syntax, 
> it’s the AST (sort of). Wisp reminds me of those people who use the arrow 
> keys Vim and never leave insert-mode, in the end they just have a convoluted 
> Nano. Maybe Wisp will help people, I don’t know, but it didn’t do anything 
> for me.

The difference to vim in insert mode is that wisp provides all features
of scheme. The opening and closing parens just look different :)

(or rather: they are merged into the existing indentation, so this
reduces duplication of information)

>> Closing remark
> The question for someone shopping around for languages is: what is the 
> selling point for Guile (or Scheme)? Being a programmable programming 
> language sounds cool, but what does it let me do? Nothing on Guile's website 
> tells me “look at how easy this is to solve in Guile, you cannot do this in 
> other languages”. What would that be? I don’t know, I’m just a layman. The 
> topic of the thread is “how to make Guile more successful”, and I most of 
> those are technical points, so I’m afraid that discussing popularity is all I 
> can contribute.

You can for example build wisp ;)

And "natural script writing" would have been much harder (and much more
mechanical work) in other languages. In most languages it would have
required parsing the text by hand and explicitly extracting code and
handing it to some function to execute it.

Best wishes,

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