[racket-dev] Getting Started & install instructions

From: Eli Barzilay (eli at barzilay.org)
Date: Tue May 1 16:04:18 EDT 2012

40 minutes ago, Asumu Takikawa wrote:
> Ideally, I'd like to link to platform-specific installation
> instructions for Racket, but I couldn't find any on the Racket home
> page. Do we have a page that we can link to for this purpose?

1. No.  The download page does try to detect your platform and put the
   relevant download(s) first, but I don't think that even for this
   use case the decision should be made automatically based on that
   guess.  (There was a suggestion to improve the download button
   based on this, and for similar reasons I said that it shouldn't
   just jump to the installer that it guesses -- instead, show the
   guess in an editable combo box.)

2. But more than that -- the text that you're talking about here:

     To get started with Racket, <download it> from the webpage and
     install it.  [etc]

   makes sense if it's on the web, but it's odd to read that from an
   installed racket.

3. BTW, perhaps you're talking about this text (see also the next

     On Windows, you can access Racket through the Start menu. By
     default it is installed in "Program Files" → "Racket" →
     "DrRacket".  On Mac OS, click on the "DrRacket" app either in the
     ".dmg" file or where you installed Racket.  On Linux or Unix, run
     the "drracket" binary.

   and somehow conventionalizing it based on the currently installed
   Racket?  If so, then it might be possible to do something with but
   should be done carefully:

   - It shouldn't produce platform-specific pages (ie, getting
     different text on different platform) because all of the
     documentation pages are platform independent now, and because
     some people will read it online.  Maybe it's doable with some JS
     hacking, but:

   - It shouldn't *rely* on JS, since it might be in a browser that
     doesn't have it (which, btw, includes IE if you didn't click some
     intimidating "allow code to run on this page")

   So my best guess for doing this would be to have four versions of
   the same text: a generic version and three versions for the three
   platforms.  The generic one is shown as usual, and the other three
   are hidden.  Then you add JS code that hides the generic one and
   shows the specific one instead.  Finally, you do that via 4 CSS
   rules, and change the CSS rather than the DOM, so if this is done
   in a JS code that comes before the text then people won't see the
   annoying dynamic rearrangement.

4. The blurbs in that text are not great, at least not in the case of
   Windows and Linux:
   - For Windows, you're talking about "Program Files" -- but almost
     nobody is using that to run programs.  It would be better to use
     "Start" but in Windows 7 that's hardly used too (you just type
     the name to look for it, and the button is no longer called
   - For Linux the "run the drracket binary" description is confusing
     for newbies that don't know how to do that.  But in addition, I
     hope that we'll soon add a desktop file so people will use their
     usual menu to run it instead.

          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
                    http://barzilay.org/                   Maze is Life!

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