[racket] Can't get my language package to work

From: J Arcane (jarcane at gmail.com)
Date: Tue Nov 18 05:58:56 EST 2014

I played with Color Logo as a kid, and recall it fondly in part because I
think it was the only encounter with the language that demonstrated
anything like actual programming (the book even contains a later chapter
teaching recursion) or the language's Lisp-y roots. The trouble with it was
that most of the use of LOGO never really got to that at the time: it was
just more 'make the computer do a thing!' When I did LOGO in school on the
Apple IIs, they never even showed us past the prompt and basic FD/LT/RT
etc. When I got hold of Color Logo and found an actual screen editor, my
young mind only having been exposed to line-edited BASIC by that point, I
was floored.

But I think most people only ever got that FD/LT/RT demonstration, made a
few squares and circles, and then promptly moved to BASIC. And the home
versions of Logo in those days diluted the language with piles of very
un-LISP things like including actual GOTO tags and so forth (Color Logo
even included it's own bizarre and incomprehensible DSL for drawing new
turtle icons:
https://archive.org/stream/Color_Logo_1982_Micropi#page/n95/mode/2up) And
that low-end of the LOGO experience really serves to do nothing so much as
cement a very imperative way of thinking about how to operate the computer.

I did look at the sweet-expressions implementation, and I think with that
you get something that looks more QBASIC or LOGO-like in syntax, but found
that it didn't work with the REPL (expressions still expected parens to
evaluate). I think the "weirdness" and "difficulty" of Lisp syntax is
mostly overstated anyhow, if I could get a handle at that age on the
madness that was most languages then, and if kids now can get a handle on
JavaScript of all things, I don't think the parens are so scary.

If Heresy becomes a proper teaching tool instead of just a toy, I'm more
interested in using it to teach functional thinking and ease the transition
from BASICs to Lisp, than teaching programming from scratch. I'll leave
that to the Racket team. ;)

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 1:38 AM, Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu>

> Racket supported some Logo flavors for a while. I am sure they'd be easy
> to resurrect. -- The bad part isn't that Logo isn't just dysfunctional
> (isn't that the right word for "not functional") but don't help kids with
> anything. -- Matthias
> On Nov 16, 2014, at 12:23 PM, Byron Davies wrote:
> John,
> If you’re working on a BASIC-like Lisp, may I suggest Seymour Papert’s
> Logo language http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?LogoLanguage.
> This is a line-oriented language developed for kids, with Lisp-like
> semantics, developed originally for Turtle graphics.  Since there’s already
> a Turtle package in Racket, perhaps you could create a full-up Logo in
> Racket.  Not functional, but still cool.
> Byron
> =========
> Byron Davies, Ph.D. — 480-276-4285
> Chief Learner and Director of K-12 Innovation
> BDavies at StarShineAcademy.org
> http://StarShineAcademy.org
> On Nov 16, 2014, at 10:00 AM, users-request at racket-lang.org wrote:
> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2014 11:20:00 +0100
> From: Konrad Hinsen <konrad.hinsen at fastmail.net>
> To: J Arcane <jarcane at gmail.com>
> Cc: Racket Users <users at racket-lang.org>
> Subject: [racket]   Can't get my language package to work.
> Message-ID:
> <21608.31312.613882.412697 at Mac-mini-de-Administrateur.local>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> J Arcane writes:
> I've been tinkering about with a BASIC-inspired Lisp syntax in Racket to
> practice
> macros. I've now got all the basic definitions established and wanted to
> thus start
> working on making it usable as a language, at least with #lang s-expr but
> I'm failing
> even at that. I can't even get my file to import and function with
> (require).
> The best starting point I found for implementing languages in Racket is
> this
> article by Matthew Flatt:
>  https://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2068896
> You can download all the examples and play with them. I suggest you
> take his version based on s-expr and modify it in small steps toward
> your own language. It's always easier to modify working code than to
> start from scratch.
> Konrad.
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