[plt-scheme] Re: 359.3 -   in documentation

From: Kyle Smith (airfoil at bellsouth.net)
Date: Mon Jan 8 13:44:21 EST 2007

Eli Barzilay wrote:
> I just wanted to point out that part of the reason for going with svn
> is that there are many good places to learn about it.
We'll I'm actually hoping to learn enough to setup my own repository for 
my projects, a few of which have reached critical mass where it's just 
too scary to work without some sort of version control to prevent me 
from accidentally wiping out months of work with a fatal save of an 
experimental version over the top of my working draft.
> I don't remember which year is which version, but it sounds like you
> shouldn't have a problem.  In any case, if you do have a problem it
> will be with the project files that changes with every devstudio
> release.
I'm really not an MS basher, since I've been using their systems for 
decades, but it does press one's patience when they obsolete their very 
own developers solution files with every update to their studio.  I've 
been working with PLT Scheme for so long (well almost a year anyway, but 
it seems like longer) now I've forgotten all the little problems with 
working in a C++ development environment.  When I was working 
commercially as a computer consultant there wasn't the time to explore 
languages like Scheme.  It's a shame I didn't  use it in graduate 
school, because I know I would have been just as enthusiastic about it 
then as I am now in retirement.

Scheme, and I suppose other functional languages that I just haven't 
learned yet, is fundamentally different than languages like C++, and 
it's not just the syntactic or functional thing that makes it 
different.  When I program in C++, the algorithms I implement can be 
every bit as complex as any algorithm  in  any  other language, but the 
language itself is never particularly perplexing or exciting.  On the 
other hand, in order to write algorithms in Scheme you either write 
really bad Scheme code that essentially nullifies all of its advantages, 
or you are faced with often perplexing and frequently exciting 
adventures into the language itself, in order to take advantage of what 
Scheme brings to the table.

As a case in point, I'm currently writing a tour/tutorial of the Scheme 
operators/functions for delimited continuations on my blog.  It really 
is a rewarding task, because the language concepts are not at all 
transparent, and only give up their secrets after a lot of quality time 
has been spent with DrScheme and the research papers behind the 
functions.  In writing up my tutorial I may not come up with any novel 
ideas, but for me there novel, and thats the fun of it.  You couldn't 
possibly attempt to recreate that kind of experience writing a tutorial 
for C++.

> Yes, it would require an X server.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the whole thing works on cygwin, but a proper Windows application
> works better.
Ok,  so I was at least write on that score.  I don't mind X windows,  
but when you've got a native GUI in the operating system like XP Pro, it 
just leads to another layer of API to bring up a server in order to run 

Thanks Eli,  sorry for going on about Scheme, but sometimes I feel the 
need to express myself.


Kyle Smith
airfoil at bellsouth dot net

Posted on the users mailing list.