Fang Talks

Urbos

Or: how to make your user feel like an idiot.

So I’m learning Hoon, Urbit‘s programming language. Or trying to, at least. Urbit as a whole is vastly different from what we’re used, and Hoon is just downright arcane when you first look at it. Supposedly it’s really easy once you get past the initial “I can’t read these runes” (yes, they’re literally called runes) phase, but I have yet to get there so I can’t verify the accuracy of that.

But Hoon isn’t just a struggle to learn because the language itself is unusual. It’s also very new, so there aren’t all that many resources out there aside from the official ones. And in total that’s just a couple of (largely explanation-less) examples, and the documentation, whose search functionality has gone missing. And if you need to look up every single character you’re typing, then yeah, it’s a bit of a pain.

Worst is when you’re trying to do something really simple, like writing a program that loops over numbers 1 through 10 and displays each of them. One of the easiest things in programming, but not when it’s Hoon. I spent half the day getting that thing to work, and only just now managed to finish it with the help of people from the chat.

That’s how you feel really incompetent: when the simplest things take incredible effort.
~ Fang

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