Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Raspberry Shoes

As far as I can tell, one of the motivations behind the development of the Raspberry Pi was the experience of actually typing code into a computer before you could play a game. The computers of those days such as the Acorn/BBC computers, the Sinclair range and others had languages with built-in access to the computers screen. There was no need to import and make calls to massive external libraries as is the case with most languages today.

There are a few exceptions  around, Rebol for instance. The stable version, Rebol 2, is not available on ARM processors. It's modern replacement, Rebol 3, which can run on ARM is still being developed, though progress is very slow. By the time it reaches version 1.0, the Red Programming Language will include easy to use access to the computer's screen.

Another alternative is Ruby/Shoes, a version of Ruby with built-in graphics. It seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from Rebol's approach. The first three versions of Shoes were written in C with a specific version of Ruby builtin. The latest version of Shoes, unsurprisingly Shoes 4, has been re-written from the ground up in Ruby. Actually it has been developed for the Java-based JRuby and uses the graphics features made available through Java.

I think I'll try to install Shoes 4 on my Raspberry Pi and see were it leads. It would be really good to have a simple way of programming graphic applications on the Raspberry Pi.

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