Future of Racket

:: Racket

For most of the last decade I’ve made things in Racket — including making tools and tutorials to support other people making things in Racket.

At RacketCon 2019, Aaron Turon gave the keynote about the Rust community.

That afternoon, I had a talk about Racket Mode for Emacs.

The next morning?

Matthew Flatt gave his State of Racket talk. He said the community is growing well. Next, he proposed, let’s change the surface syntax away from lispy s-expressions, to something that will be a lower barrier of entry to new users.

He said it’s just a proposal. It would probably take a couple years. #lang racket programs would continue to work meanwhile and after the change. But eventually, in his proposal, the Racket culture should use this new syntax. (“Culture” meaning documentation, discussions, books, tutorials, tools.)

To be fair, he gave people a lot of time to share their initial reactions and answer their questions.

Also to be fair, if you have some mileage on your odometer, your pattern-recognition machinery will quickly assign high probabilities to various outcomes.

I’m concerned the change won’t help grow the community; instead hurt it. I’ve explained why in a few racket-users posts.1 I won’t here. I don’t think it matters. All you can say is, “Hey, that stove is hot, you might not want to touch it.”

I don’t regret contributing things and trying to help the community grow. I learned a lot! I had fun! On the other hand, if I’ll no longer learn or have fun? I’m not getting any younger. There are other things to do.

In the near future, I’m spending more time with other programming languages (currently Rust and Haskell). Possibly less time programming, at all. We’ll see.

Who cares? Why write this post?

Finally, I sincerely wish all the best for the Racket core team and the community, which in my experience consists of amazing people with good intentions, open hearts, and sharp brains.

  1. Update 2019–08–10: Now that some people are linking to this blog post? Here are links to my racket-users posts: blah, blah, blah, blah, and blah. Also I updated this to “linkify” some other things and add Haskell to the list of languages I’m mostly focusing on now.