[racket-dev] racket vs. scheme vs. clojure (as it appears to others)

From: Brian Mastenbrook (brian at mastenbrook.net)
Date: Wed May 4 20:48:11 EDT 2011

On 05/04/2011 06:31 PM, Justin Zamora wrote:
> On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 3:20 AM, D Herring<dherring at tentpost.com>  wrote:
>> You might emphasize that Racket is a "new language, borrowing the best parts
>> of Scheme (and other languages?) and extending it with these features"...
> A sentence like that would be a good replacement for the awful,
> "Racket is a programming language" currently on the front page of
> racket-lang.org   Perhaps something like "Racket is a new language
> that borrows the best parts of Scheme, Java, and other languages and
> extends them with advanced features such as contracts, types,
> user-defined languages, a complete GUI framework and other modern
> features."

It's a bit long, and it feels like a list of bullet points. The type of 
person who will read and digest that one-sentence summary isn't the type 
of person who needs a one-sentence summary in the first place. Compare 
and contrast the Python summary linked by the GP:

"Python is a programming language that lets you work more quickly and 
integrate your systems more effectively."

There's no mention of technology (other than that it's a programming 
language). It's all about how Python is intended to be used. The next 
sentence hammers this point home: "You can learn to use Python and see 
almost immediate gains in productivity and lower maintenance costs."

Your suggested Racket summary answers the "What?" question: "What is 
Racket?". The Python summary answers the "Why?" question, as in "Why 
would I want to spend any time reading about this Python thing?". If you 
haven't answered that question sufficiently, nobody will want to read 
the "What?". That's not to say that the answer for Racket needs to be as 
dry and purpose-focused as the Python answer, but it does need to catch 
the person who wanders in from Google and give them a reason to keep 
reading to the bottom of the page.

So, with that in mind, if I know Java or Python, why do I want to spend 
the next 10 minutes of my life reading about Racket - in two sentences 
or less?

Brian Mastenbrook
brian at mastenbrook.net

Posted on the dev mailing list.