[plt-scheme] only 2 simple questions

From: Jepri (jepri at babylon.alphacomplex.org)
Date: Mon Jan 23 10:56:48 EST 2006

David T. Pierson wrote:

>Am I just dreaming if I think industry usage of Scheme is restricted
>more by lack of awareness rather than lack of practical applications?
>(where "awareness" includes exposure, education, experience, etc.)

Which industry are you targetting?  Each existing language is used 
faithfully by a different industry, with the possible exception of C.  
Often a language is preferred for reasons not related to the actual 
language itself, but because of its implementation.  e.g. Visual Basic 
is appreciated for its drag'n'drop business tookit, perl for its helpful 
tricks for sysadmins, Java for its ummm..  its uhh... something (write 
once, nearly works anywhere?).  To move into an industry segment, Scheme 
would have to beat an existing language implementation at its own game, 
or perhaps show programmers that the game has changed.  Which industry 
segment is Scheme not just ready for, but *excellent* for?

Looking at my PLT Scheme install, it seems to be very good for 
developing desktop apps, and maybe 3-D apps too.    Were you thinking of 
the Rapid Application Development industry in your mail? 

I've been trying out MzScheme where I would have used Perl in my 
sysadmin work.  Note that I'm not comparing it to perl, only to its 
ability to tackle the tasks I really do in my job.  I made a quite a few 
notes as I went along, and the quick summary is:
Great:  threads+functional style (amazingly robust and convenient), 
ports (what I've always wanted, in any language), MrEd, PlaneT, good 
doco, and the free books
Not so great (for sysadmin work):  Changing library interfaces(e.g. 
MrEd), language in flux, academic focus, backwards incompatibility, 
(lack of) simultaneous installs of different versions, "pioneer tax" and 
(obviously) not focussed on sysadmins
Needed:  A plt-beginners mailing list where beginners like me can ask 
silly questions like "How do I eval a string?" (1)  This list can be a 
tad intimidating.

The backwards compatibility issues and language in flux are pretty much 
show stoppers for me right now.  The "not focussed on sysadmins" sounds 
glib, but what's my reason for switching when perl *is* focussed on 
sysadmins?  Perl pretty much grew up with the sysadmin "industry" and 
has lots of little implementation quirks that endear it to admins.  
Perhaps if there was an AI industry, Scheme (or LISP) might be 
dominating that industry today.

However my general programming skills are definately improving as I 
learn more Scheme.   Like Hans, my Perl style is changing for the better.

1.  (eval (read (open-input-string  a-string)))

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