Red (programming language)

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Red Logo (stylized Tower of Hanoi)
Paradigm(s) imperative, functional, symbolic
Designed by Nenad Rakocevic
Developer Nenad Rakocevic
Appeared in 2011
Influenced by Rebol, Scala, Lua
OS Linux, Windows, OS X, Syllable
License modified BSD license
Filename extension(s) .red, .reds

Red is both an imperative and functional programming language introduced in 2011 by Nenad Rakocevic. Its syntax and general usage directly overlaps with that of the interpreted Rebol language (which was introduced in 1997). Yet the implementation choices of Red were geared specifically to overcoming limitations of Rebol, creating what Rakocevic calls a "full stack programming language". Red can be used for extremely high-level programming (DSLs and GUIs) as well as low-level programming (operating systems and device drivers).

Key to the approach is that the language has two parts: Red/System and Red. The former is similar to C, but packaged into a Rebol lexical structure (e.g. one would write "if x > y [print {Hello}]" instead of "if (x > y) {printf("Hello\n");}"). Red itself is a homoiconic language capable of meta-programming, whose semantics are more similar to Rebol's. Its runtime library is written in Red/System, and uses a hybrid approach: it compiles what it can deduce statically, has a just-in-time compiler for cases that can make use of it, and falls back onto an embedded interpreter when neither of those approaches will suffice.

Red seeks to remain independent of any other toolchain, and thus does its own code generation. It's therefore possible to cross-compile Red programs from any platform it supports to any other, via a command-line switch. Both Red and Red/System are distributed as open-source software under the modified BSD license. The runtime library is distributed under the more permissive Boost Software License.

Language schema[edit]

Red architecture small.PNG


The Red programming language was presented during the Software Freedom Day 2011[1];[2] giving to its author a large audience; the video is still on the SFD homepage since September 2011. Rakocevic is also the joint winners of the Rebol of the Year 2011 election.[3] Red was first introduced in the Netherlands on February 2011 at the Rebol & Boron conference[4] by its author, who is also known to be the creator of the Cheyenne HTTP server.[5]


  1. ^ « Red »,, september 14, 2011.
  2. ^ « Red Programming Language: Red at Software Freedom Day 2011 »,, september 14, 2011.
  3. ^ « Red & Rebol DevCon Winter 2012 », devcon, winter 2012.
  4. ^ « New Red Programming Language Gets Syllable Backend »,, May 2011.
  5. ^ « Red Alert! »,, May 2011.

External links[edit]