[gambit-list] DrScheme and GambitC

William Cook wcook at cs.utexas.edu
Tue Sep 2 10:52:14 EDT 2008

What you say about Python, Ruby, and Perl is consistent with my understanding of 
those languages a year or two ago. However, there has been a big push within the 
dynamic language and Eclipse community to implement visual debuggers for these 
languages, and the progress is impressive. They have jumped forward and are now 
almost as good as Java and C# debuggers. Example include Komodo (commercial) and many 
Eclipse plugins. While many efforts have to date been separate, the Dynamic Languages 
Toolkit for Eclipse is attempting to bring them together so that they can reuse code 
(and simplify development). This means that Scheme is now falling pretty far behind 
the other languages, although they are much younger. I love Eclipse. I would use it 
just for the CVS and SVN plugins alone. And I'm happy contributing to it, because I 
feel I'm participating with and leveraging a very large user base.

I am good at debugging too.. also from many years experience. Perhaps its bad that I 
rely on my debugging skills rather than proving everything up front. But, that's the 
way it goes.

I guess I hadn't realized the degree to which Scheme is simply a tiny niche language 
without a big user base. Perhaps Scheme is plagued by too many implementations and so 
there is no critical mass on any of them.



David Rush wrote:
> Cool. I'm all for that. But here's the thing. All your comparisons are
> to languages with a much larger user/implementation ratio. So the
> Scheme community in general (and Gambit in particular, but not
> especially) is resource-starved on the tools side. And by & large all
> open-source languages have sucky debuggers: debuggers are the world's
> most unrewarding programs to write (believe me I know what I'm talking
> about here). There are a fortunate few languages where debuggers have
> been built as later add-ons. Frankly, even a fairly popular newcomer
> like Ruby has completely sucky debugging facilities. As far as I'm
> concerned the VMS debugger ca 1990 was nearly perfect - and it has to
> be said that the u$oft debugging tools are not bad either, but once
> again these debuggers have corporate sponsorship.
> So I'm still using debugging techniques that date back to what I had
> to do when I was cross-assembling Univac assembly to 80286 machines.
> printf() and reading and *reasoning* about the code. And people wonder
> how I am able to find and fix so many pernicious bugs that baffle the
> rest of the engineering team...
> And to bring this full-circle, I'd love a great Scheme debugger. I'd
> be happy enough with a great Gambit debugger (and it does have one of
> the best inn Scheme - which is pretty damning). But not under eclipse
> (which I hate for a myriad of reasons). And the current state of
> affairs *is* workable and not much worse than working in Python, Ruby,
> Per, or Tcl.
> david rush

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