Book Image

Learn Red ? Fundamentals of Red

By : Ivo Balbaert
Book Image

Learn Red ? Fundamentals of Red

By: Ivo Balbaert

Overview of this book

A key problem of software development today is software bloat, where huge toolchains and development environments are needed in software coding and deployment. Red significantly reduces this bloat by offering a minimalist but complete toolchain. This is the first introductory book about it, and it will get you up and running with Red as quickly as possible. This book shows you how to write effective functions, reduce code redundancies, and improve code reuse. It will be helpful for new programmers who are starting out with Red to explore its wide and ever-growing package ecosystem and also for experienced developers who want to add Red to their skill set. The book presents the fundamentals of programming in Red and in-depth informative examples using a step-by-step approach. You will be taken through concepts and examples such as doing simple metaprogramming, functions, collections, GUI applications, and more. By the end of the book, you will be fully equipped to start your own projects in Red.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

A short history of Red

Red is an open source, modern programming language and platform, designed and developed by Nenad Rakocevic. Red started out in early 2011 and is now at Version 0.6.3 (with 0.6.4 coming in the near future), aiming for a 1.0 release in the next year or so. In order to better understand its features, we have to explore its name and history a bit.

What Red stands for

Red is short for Red[uced] REBOL, and that's why Red users proudly call themselves reducers. This points to two things:

  • Red builds upon REBOL, a language that gained some fame around the millennium and was built by Carl Sassenrath. In fact, Red is syntactically and semantically a 95% clone of REBOL, but tries to improve and enhance it where possible. This also means REBOL scripts can be easily converted to Red.
  • Red (like REBOL) wants to reduce today's code complexity—it aims to have compact runtime environments and dependencies (around 1 MB), instead of the hundreds of MB of the Java or .NET platform.

Some history

Development of Red started out with Red/System—this is a low-level language (like C) to enable programming at the full system level. Red/System is like an older sibling—it looks very much like Red, but it is aimed at lower-level programming so it is more restricted. We'll come back to it in Chapter 10, Advanced Red.

Gradually, Red evolved this foundation, adding with each release more and more data types, actions, and functions. A REPL interactive coding console, execution on ARM processors, a parsing engine, a cross-platform GUI dialect (working on Windows and macOS, and nearing completion on Linux and Android), reactive programming, and macros are among the hallmarks of this evolution.

From January 2015, the Fullstack Technologies company was formed to continue Red's ongoing development, together with an ever-growing community of open source contributors. The company raised capital from InnovationWorks and GeekFounders (Chinese VC early-stage investors) and has its headquarters in Beijing's Silicon Valley.

In January 2018, Red joined the blockchain revolution—through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) with its own cryptocurrency, RED (Red Community Token) token, and it gained a vast amount of new funding capital to sustain and accelerate its completion. Using its unique capabilities, a special dialect of Red called Red/C3 is being built, specifically dedicated to blockchain and smart contracts programming.

Since spring 2018, the Red project has been managed by the Red Foundation, based in Paris (France), and also led by Nenad Rakocevic. This organization will also foster a new economic model for open source projects, using the RED token to drive development.