When comparing Red vs Rebol, the Slant community recommends Rebol for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Rebol is ranked 33rd while Red is ranked 40th. The most important reason people chose Rebol is:
Almost natural language, for example: `write %out.html read http://google.com`.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Low cognitive load
Red has very simple syntax that's easy to learn. It gets out of your way and lets you think about the problem instead, enhancing productivity.
Pro Very simple syntax
Red syntax is a lot like Rebol. It's easier than most languages for beginners to pick up.
Pro Both low and high-level
Red has low enough access to do systems programming, but it's expressive enough for high-level scripting.
Pro Simple toolchain
Other languages have complex, multi-step setups that beginners often get stuck on. Red has no installer, no setup, no dependencies*, just a single small (~1MB) command-line executable with both the compiler and repl. On Windows, you don't even have to launch executable from the command line--it has a GUI-console.
Pro Human friendly
Almost natural language, for example:
write %out.html read http://google.com.
Code is data, and data can be code. Rebol is based on a simple block data structure, used both for data and for the code itself. Blocks can be manipulated programmatically, and then evaluated as code. This makes metaprogramming easy in Rebol.
Pro Graphical user interface
Beginners are usually stuck making command-line applications in other languages, because GUIs are too hard. Rebol GUIs are easy enough to start with.
Pro Very simple syntax
Rebol's name came from "Relative Expression Based Object Language". Rebol is a functional language and everything is an expression that returns a value. Things that have to be baked into the grammar in other languages are simple function calls with block arguments in Rebol.
Pro Domain specific languages
Rebol's simple homoiconic syntax makes it easy to create "Rebol dialects"--domain-specific languages optimized for a particular purpose. The Rebol distribution includes many of these, and users are free to create more. These DSLs make tasks that would be complicated to express in other languages easy.
Con Not production ready
Red is still under development and not considered stable.
Con Still in beta
It mostly works. It's good enough for building usable applications, but some planned features are missing.
Con Not (yet?) Free Software
Rebol 2's core is free (gratis) for commercial use, but the license prohibits modification, a violation of the DFSG. Rebol 3 is Free Software (Apache 2.0), but isn't production ready.
Con No separators
A function call expression has no parentheses, and there are no separators between sequenced expressions, not even newlines. This means that you have to know the arity of every function in an expression to know how to parse it. It also means you can run into subtle, hard-to-find bugs if you don't provide enough arguments, since the result of the next expression will be passed instead.