[racket] article about Racket

From: Johan Holmquist (holmisen at gmail.com)
Date: Sun Nov 13 05:00:58 EST 2011


To me DrRacket (and prev. DrScheme) is the only IDE I have tried that
really appealed to me, much thanks to  its minimalistic GUI. If that makes
it look lika a toy, then it's a good thing in my book.

Only thing I am really missing is GUI support for defining my own
keybindings (I never had much luck with defining my own keybindings). Now I
haven't hacked any racket for a while, so things may have improved in this
respect without my knowledge.

Raoul, DrRacket is a bit different from other IDEs, but it does
not necessarily make it worse. Give it a little more time and you may
become accustomed to it's way and even start to like it.


2011/11/13 Eli Barzilay <eli at barzilay.org>

> 20 minutes ago, Raoul Duke wrote:
> > (a) oh based on previous experience, i expect you of all people to
> > be blunt! so i don't mind at all! :-)
> I'll do that.
> > where i'm coming from: [...]
> No relevance, except:
> > i'm using [...] mac os x. (at home i use that or linux since
> > my xp box is dead.
> OK.
> >     * it doesn’t look like a native app, so it is very off-putting
> > and has unsettled me from the get-go.
> This used to be the case for linux only, before the gui rewrite, and
> since then it looks native on all plaforms including linux.  (And that
> includes the gtk file dialog that I detest.)  But to make it useful,
> you'll need to get *specific* points across.  This:
> > even just the basic app menus aren’t remotely native-app looking.
> > this looks like something that was hacked up in tk circa 1987 or
> > some other "i purport to be cross-platform but really i'm just stab
> > in the eye on all platforms rather than something that feels cozy at
> > home on each platform."  yes, i know cross-platform is really,
> > really hard.
> has zero useful content.  I'm not the DrRacket developer, but had I
> been, there is nothing in the above that I see as useful in fixing
> whatever it is that bothers you.
> [On the meta side of inflammatory posts: like Shriram, I find this
> borderline trolling.  Unlike your text, I can specify exactly why: you
> use strong language like "stab in the eye" and "bad taste in my
> mouth".  Yet you have not justified this in any concrete way, so I
> find it surprising that something would be equivalent to a stabbed
> eye, yet it's vague enough to not come with an explicit explanation.
> For all I know, that's all because some box on the screen didn't have
> round corners at the same radius or something similar.]
> >     * it seems to be serving too many different audiences out of the
> > box. having to choose a language is pretty confusing.
> Yes, that's a good -- and known -- point.  The default language should
> be the "detect language in source", but that can confuse newbies who
> use the student languages so it's not the default, yet, mostly because
> there isn't a clear way to improve it.
> > is dr. racket aimed first at top-level PLT folks who grok
> > multi-lingual stuff? i think that should be more ‘advanced’ and thus
> > hidden. [...]
> It is.  At the stage of not being aware of the "multi-lingual stuff",
> you just need to write "#lang racket" and be done with it.  The
> default behavior of the "detect language in source" does just that.
> >     * killer bad: when i evaluate code from the top pane, my cursor
> > gets moved to the bottom pane and i have to manually get it back up
> > top to edit my program.
> I'd say two things about this: (a) you're admittedly using lispish
> languages very little -- and what drracket does is something that most
> of the people who do use it expect as the default.  I wrote my code
> and now I want to try things out.  (b) There are cases where I want to
> just run the code to see that there were no errors etc -- but that
> boils down to a feature request to get a second key (maybe C-S-r?)
> that will leave the focus in whatever window you were at.  Such a key
> makes sense, but if that'll make you happy than I'd argue that "killer
> bad" is a huge exaggeration.
> >     * killer bad: clicking on Check Syntax
> >         * changes the ui drastically and i have no idea how to get
> > back to how it was before i clicked it.
> How does it change the UI?  FWIW, I see two things: an error popping
> up if there is one, and colors changing.  Both are part of what I
> expect it to do.  The only thing that I'd complain about here is the
> "check syntax" name, which makes it seem like some trivial tool in one
> of the mainstream language where "check the syntax" is a trivial
> functionality.  But I don't have a good idea for a better name, and
> "check syntax" has been around for a really long time so it became
> it's own kind of term in the racket world.
> >         * also there were no visible results of clicking it, no
> > report card, no “ok” even. i had (+ 3 2) as the program.
> I suspect that this is the same as above.  (Confusing it for something
> it is not.)  I know that if DrRacket changes to pop up some "Your
> syntax checks fine!" it would be much less useful for me.
> >         * doing (+ 3 z) at least hilighted the z, but that was a
> > really small thing and hard to see and hard to know what it means
> > and what to do with it and where to go from there. the ui is not
> > showing me what to do.
> Sounds like you're seeing something different than what I see.  I get
> the "z" with a red background, which in the year that I live at (2011)
> is a universal sign of "something bad happened".  In case the red bg
> is unclear, I also get an error message at the top of the screen, with
> the error that happened.  It even says "Check Syntax Error Message" on
> the left so I know where it came from.  Finally, the cursor is right
> next to the offending "z", so my UI is really trying to show me that I
> need to do something there to fix the error.
> >         * hovering over the hilighted z does nothing.
> I guess that it could show something, but since there is the error
> window at the top I don't know what else could be shown there.
> >     * at this point, basically literally 5 or 7 minutes into using
> > it, i’m ready to throw it out. the system is apparently utterly
> > unhelpful, and seems to really try to lead me down various crazy
> > garden paths of doom.
> This goes on with the strong language: "utterly unhelpful" seems
> awfully strong for having one and a half very minor complaints that I
> can extrapolate from the above.
> >     * like, i guess i have to quit the entire app and start it again
> > to get the 2 pane format back? [oh i guess i can "run" it again to
> > get it back at least.]
> Um, I have to admit that I run into similar problems with applications
> that I don't know.  In such cases I a menu named "View" is something
> that looks very promising in rectifying whatever it is that I want to
> view.  Did you try that?
> --
>          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
>                    http://barzilay.org/                   Maze is Life!
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