The Red Programming Language
Written by Ian Elliot   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017

There is a new version of the Red programming language available now. What? You have never heard of Red? 


Sometimes the news is reported well enough elsewhere and we have little to add other than to bring it to your attention.

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The Red website describes it as:

"...a next-gen programming language, strongly inspired by REBOL.

Red’s ambitious goal is to build the world’s first full-stack language, a language you can use from system programming tasks, up to high-level scripting through DSL. You've probably heard of the term "Full-Stack Developer". But what is a full-stack Language, exactly?

Other languages talk about having "one tool to rule them all". Red has that mindset too, pushed to the limit - it's a single executable that takes in your source files on any platform, and produces a packaged binary for any platform, from any other. The tool doesn’t depend on anything besides what came with your OS...shipping as a single executable that’s smaller than a megabyte."



The whole idea is to create somethng that allows meta programing as easily as programming. You can extend the language:

"...what's being put in your hands is more like a "language construction set" than simply "a language". Whether you’re writing a device driver, a platform-native GUI application, or a shared library... Red lets you use a common syntax to code at the right level of abstraction for the task. "

To be technical, Red is Homoiconic - it is its own meta language and data-format. You can use it to do functional, imperative, reactive and symbolic programming. It uses a prototype approach to objects and gradual and multityping. There are two parts to the language, Red/System which is a C-like language and Red itself. 

The currently supported platforms are:

MSDOS : Windows, x86, console (+ GUI) applications Windows : Windows, x86, GUI applications
WindowsXP : Windows, x86, GUI applications, no touch API Linux : GNU/Linux, x86
Linux-ARM : GNU/Linux, ARMv5, armel (soft-float)
RPi : GNU/Linux, ARMv5, armhf (hard-float)
Darwin : MacOSX Intel, console-only applications
Syllable : Syllable OS,
x86 FreeBSD : FreeBSD, x86
Android : Android, ARMv5
Android-x86 : Android, x86

The latest release 0.6.2 has three main features: 

  • Macros and preprocessor support
  • Fast compilation using libRedRT
  • LibRed for embedding Red anywhere

It is open source and you can find out more at GitHub or its own website. 




If you are tired of languages that are just slight modifications of Java or C++, you could have some fun with Red. There is a Visual Studio Code extension that makes getting started easy.




More Information

Official website


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 March 2017 )