posted by Kaj de Vos on Sun 18th Oct 2009 21:07 UTC
IconSeveral long-term development goals are starting to come together for the Syllable project. At a request from Carl Sassenrath, inventor of REBOL and chief architect of the Amiga OS, Kaj de Vos has created a website that allows you to try the REBOL programming language without installing it. The site showcases the new REBOL version 3. It also offers to test the classic REBOL 2 and ORCA, the open source implementation of REBOL, and to make comparisons between them.

REBOL 3 is close to going into beta release, after a long series of alpha releases over the past year. It is designed to bring REBOL up to current standards in programming platforms by breaking known barriers in the architecture and marketing of REBOL 2, which is now a decade old. An important aspect of this is that the architecture of REBOL 3 will be open and for a large part open source, which will allow the Syllable project to integrate it into their operating system family, including Syllable Desktop.

REBOL 2 is already included in Syllable Server, and the Linux builds of REBOL 3 also run on it. The demo website is running on Syllable Server 0.3, in development towards version 0.4. For this application, the security of the server operating system was enhanced to be able to offer the public to run generic REBOL scripts. REBOL 3 has an enhanced cross-platform security framework, but for ORCA and partly for REBOL 2, the site relies on Linux security in Syllable Server.

The website was made on top of the REBOL software stack included in Syllable Server. It runs on the Cheyenne web server. It is made in a Model/View/Controller architecture with a combination of the QuarterMaster web framework and the content management system that is also used to build the Syllable project websites. This stack constitutes an application platform for building network applications. The REBOL demo site marks the transition of this application platform to being capable of building advanced interactive websites.

So far, the prime supported communication channel for managing a Syllable Server installation from Syllable Desktop has been OpenSSH, allowing remote log-in into the Linux command shell. With this web platform, the Syllable project will be able to build web interfaces on Syllable Server that can be used by web browsers such as Webster, the browser of Syllable Desktop. Webster is based on the WebKit engine, so it supports modern features, but carelessly programmed websites can still pose a problem to it. Therefore, the goal of this web platform is to create web applications on a similar philosophy as native Syllable applications: lightweight yet powerful.

The REBOL demo website uses modern HTML and CSS, a minimum of JavaScript for its advanced interaction, asynchronous HTTP communication with the server to keep this interaction responsive, and simple custom data formats to communicate structured data between the components of the system.

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