April 4, 2018

Sneak peek at Red on Android

Here is a short overview of the implemented features so far for Red/View backend on Android:



The source code for that Android test app is available here.

Implemented features so far:
  • New java bridge for Android
  • Full set of Red/View widgets supported (some still require extra work)
  • Draw & Shape dialects fully supported
  • Compatibility with Android GUI themes
  • Device-independent coordinate system
  • Updated APK building toolchain for targeting API 23+ Android systems
  • Improved ARM backend, support for ARMv7+
  • Android OS support ranges from 5.0 to 8.1 (tested on a Pixel 2)

The new java bridge replaces the old prototype built a few years ago, the low-level JNI bridge has been kept as is. This new bridge is optimized for performance, and allows efficient bindings from Red/System to the Android API in Java.

Those features were implemented in about a month and half in August/September 2017. We have delayed the continuation of that work, as we need to focus our resources on higher priority tasks for now, like Red/C3 and full I/O support. Once 0.7.0 will be out, we should have some resources available to resume this work. As a reminder, the current work on Android is done in a private repository, in order to keep control over the communication about Red on Android, as we want to maximize the announcement effect on that very important milestone. This private repo will be opened to a group of selected developers in our community once we resume the work on it, in order to help with testing and fine-tuning.

About the Tiger demo, it's a Draw version of the famous SVG tiger. It has many complex shapes, so it is particularily intensive to render in realtime, as in the above animation. From what we have noticed so far, it is CPU-bound on most (if not all) Android devices, so the rendering speed varies according to your device raw performance. We did some simple benchmarks with raw Java 2D vector graphics using the same Android API as Draw, Java code performed only 12% faster than our Draw code. This is an excellent result at this point, and hints that we can achieve great performance for 2D rendering in future versions. Here is the same demo running on a Xiaomi Mi Mix, which has a bigger display and is quite faster than the Nexus 5 used in the first video:




Here is a non-exaustive list of features to add or issues to address in order to complete Android backend:
  • Font and Para objects support
  • Menus support
  • List widgets elements have fixed sizes so far
  • Text-list has fixed height
  • Area widget needs to be completed
  • User-defined list widget
  • Camera aspect ratio correction required
  • Camera control
  • Transition effects between panels
  • Fast 2D sprites and scrolling support (for 2D games)
  • Red GUI console support
  • Common hardware sensors support
  • Bluetooth support
  • QR code reading and generation library
  • Contacts database access
  • Intents access
  • Developer keys management
  • Permission system support
  • Extra application types support:
    • desktop widget
    • headless service
    • wearable
    • TV

We are really excited by how quickly and smoothly was this first part of the work achieved, so this bows well for the remaining parts. As you know, we have a very heavy schedule this year, so we really need the full support of the Red community, and beyond, in order to accomplish it all and finally make the tool we all dream about, come true!

March 27, 2018

Roadmap Updates

After our successful token sale, we are making some changes to our old Red development roadmap.

0.6.4 release

We are merging the 0.6.4 branch into master today. There are still some features to add and polish, so we plan to release it in about a week.

We are still considering a 0.6.5 milestone for swapping the REPL and the toolchain thus making the Red console the new Red executable. If we cannot fit the required changes for that into 0.6.4, we will insert a small extra milestone for that before releasing 0.7.0.

Full I/O milestone

This gets higher priority now, as we don't need to rush Android support anymore, given the new funds we have now. We can now proceed in a more logical order which will result in the Android release having much more complete support.

0.7.0 will focus on bringing the port! datatype and with it, async networking I/O and some basic protocols. Work will start on it right after 0.6.4 release. This also means that a 0.7.x could be turned into a 0.9 release, providing a first Red beta version and a shortened path to 1.0. That depends on decisions about incorporating the module system and/or concurrency support in 1.0, or in a later version. We hope to decide on that with the help of the Red user community, using the voting power granted by the RED token. ;-)

Android milestone

It is still a very important milestone for Red, even if the work on it has currently slowed due to the big blockchain-related wave of tasks. It is now scheduled to be a 0.7.x release. We should accelerate work on it once new developers have joined the team. A new blog article (later this week) will provide a sneak peek at Red's current Android capabilities and what is left to do in order to complete it.

Red/C3

We are still working on combining the Red core roadmap and the Red/C3 roadmap and allocating resources adequately on the different branches of the whole project. So far, the Red/C3 roadmap (as described in the whitepaper) remains unchanged.

The first milestone in the Red/C3 roadmap is:
Q1 2018:
  • Ethereum node wrapper for Red Dapps (alpha)
  • RED wallet Dapp (alpha)

We are glad to announce that we are finalizing those tasks, and will be releasing the wallet app (as alpha) next week! The wallet currently supports only the Nano Ledger S hardware key (no software keys support for now). More info about the wallet app in a blog post next week, including a list of all the features planned for the 1.0 wallet release.

For the Ethereum node wrapper, we have implemented a JSON-RPC library in Red, used by the wallet app. That library will be released alongside the wallet code. It only covers some basic features from the Ethereum node API for now. We plan to vastly extend the API coverage in subsequent versions. Once the 0.7.0 release is out, we could wrap that library code in an eth:// port and provide a nice, human-friendly interface for it. We believe that enabling an easy way to interact with the Ethereum blockchain (and some others later this year), will raise the interest of existing Red coders for the Ethereum ecosystem, and set a new standard for high-level scripting tasks for blockchains.

Last but not least, we are setting up an online Ethereum node, that will be controlled by the Red Foundation, as a backend for the wallet app (currently relying on Infura's nodes) and all future Red Dapps.

We are now preparing to start work on the Red/C3 compiler first alpha, which is planned for release in June. After that, during the summer, we will review the next steps in the roadmap and eventually adjust them according to the feedback from users, how fast we can move Red/C3 to a 1.0, and the state of needs in the crypto world by then.

Red/Pro

Huh...what? :-) Yes, you read it correctly, we, at Fullstack, are cooking a great new product for Red users which should be our first commercial product. At the moment, I am directing Fullstack's key resources to work solely on the open source Red and Red/C3. Work on Red/Pro is postponed to the second part of this year. There will be more info about what Red/Pro is in a future blog post. ;-)

Until then, you can help us test the new console and features of 0.6.4 before the new release, you are welcome to report issues in our red/red or red/bugs rooms on Gitter.

Cheers!

March 12, 2018

Red Foundation news

We set up the Red Foundation structure at the beginning of January in Paris, France. The Red Foundation is kindly hosted by the EPHE, at the Human and Artificial Cognition research unit led by Fran├žois Jouen (author of the famous RedCV framework, among other image-processing related projects for Red).


For a brief overview, the Red Foundation structure is composed of several teams:
  • an administrative team: 
    • Nenad Rakocevic, President
    • Francois Jouen, Vice-President
    • Azouz Guizani, Treasurer
  • an operational team, led by Gregg Irwin, and composed of regular members. Peter W A Wood is the first member, and will be followed by more in the future.
  • honorary members, who act as advisors.

The role of the Foundation, as explained in the announcement article and in the RED whitepaper, is to manage the whole Red open source project, and set up a new economic model for open source projects using the RED token. In order to achieve that, all copyright holders in the Red codebase on Github will be asked to transfer their rights to the Foundation. As Nenad is the copyright owner of the biggest part of the source code, he will be the first one to do so (resulting in changing the copyright in the source files headers and license files).

The tasks the operational team is also working on currently, are:
  • a website for the Foundation, featuring:
    • a blog platform where regular reports will be made.
    • full information about the RED token (usages, reward rules and amounts).
    • contributing task bounties for the Red community (paid in RED tokens).
  • defining the rules for retro-distribution of RED tokens for past contributions (since the opening of the Red github repo in 2011). We will proceed with the distribution as soon as the rules and correct amount of reward tokens are decided. This needs the list of contributions and contributors to be gathered.
  • defining the decision processes in the operational team.
  • defining the rules for membership of the Foundation.
  • managing the re-design of the red-lang.org site and moving it to a new platform.

All those tasks and their results will be published on the Foundation website, for the sake of information and transparency.

In order to absorb all these new tasks and the extended roadmaps for the new branches of development in the Red programming stack, we are recruiting new collaborators (non-exhaustive list):
  • a Content and Marketing Manage
  • a Community manager (to help Gregg)
  • devops lead (for deployment and infrastructures management)
  • a low-level system programmer (to reinforce the core Red dev team)
  • an Android system programmer
  • a Win32 system programmer (for maintaining the Windows backend)
  • a Cocoa system programmer (for maintaining the macOS backend)
  • a GTK system programmer (for maintaining the Linux backend)
  • a QA engineer
  • a Security Expert (for addressing the AV vendors issues and other security aspects in the project)
  • a Tokenomics Expert (if such rare bird even exists ;-))

Some of those jobs are already being filled as you read those lines, whilst it might take longer to find right match for others. Most of those jobs will be handled by our supporting company, Fullstack Technology, on behalf of the Foundation. We will post the job descriptions asap.

In addition to that, the Red Foundation is searching for partners helping it fulfill his vision of simplified programming solutions for humans, especially in the blockchain industry. Discussions are undergoing already with some potential partners, like the NEO council, or Enuma, a leading blockchain services company in Hong Kong.

The Foundation will set up a monthly report on all its activities, published on his website (under construction).


March 11, 2018

Red, Rebol & Carl

Another goal of our trip in California was to visit Carl Sassenrath, creator of Rebol, and spiritual grandfather of Red, as Red is the offspring of the Rebol language.

We had a great time with Carl and his wife Cindy, discussing Red and Rebol syntax & semantics, the blockchain industry, smart contracts and the opportunities it presents for our technologies, while enjoying a good Italian restaurant and excellent red wine (selected by Carl, of course!). Carl was particularly interested in understanding more deeply how smart contracts work and how they are currently implemented using the Solidity language. We walked him through the complete source code of the RED token contract, commenting on pretty much every line of code in it and discussing the needs and possible improvements a DSL like Red/C3 could bring over the existing tools. It seems obvious that we could make a huge difference in that domain, given our human-centric approach to software building.

Another aspect that got Carl's attention, was the tokenomics we are setting up for our community of users, using the RED token. Carl read the whole whitepaper (he found it well-written), and was excited by how we could make the community grow, delegate more control over the projects to the community using the voting power, and increase the contributions by leveraging the token, as a reward model for useful contributions.

We were invited to stay at Carl's place, as the discussions lasted late into the night (many thanks to Carl & Cindy for their kind hospitality). At our morning breakfast, we were delighted to hear that Carl accepted our invitation to join the Red Foundation as an honorary member, which means that Carl will be watching our work both on Red and on the Red/C3 DSL, bringing his unique experience and advice on building languages and dialects. As we are still setting up the Red Foundation operations and teams, we will give more information about our collaboration with Carl in later reports from the Foundation. In addition to that, we asked Carl to kindly free the Rebol/SDK (which is something Carl was already considering, as it is not sold anymore), so that Red users could encap their own toolchain binaries if they want to, without having to purchase it. Carl announced on rebol.com that it will soon be unlocked, and provided for free to all!

For the old timers from Red and Rebol community, yes, it means we are on a course to finally join forces and build the dream team we've all wished for over these many years! ;-)

Next article will cover the current state of the Red Foundation and the related on-going tasks.

March 10, 2018

Red in San Francisco

For those eager to get some fresh news from Red, here are some great news items that we are sure you will appreciate a lot. As there are many different topics to talk about, we are splitting the news over several articles that we will publish over several days. This is the first part.

Together with Gregg Irwin, the Red community leader, who joined us from Idaho, we had a memorable time in SF, and the trip was successful beyond our wildest expectations! The goal of the trip was to attend the GoBlockchainConnect conference, the first big conference connecting the Asian and North American blockchain industries. The conference was promoted as bringing together developers, blockchain companies, and investors. More than 1'000 people attended.

Such events are really good for getting the pulse of the crypto community first hand, learning about the state of art in this emerging industry, and connecting with key people, including projects like NEO, and companies like... Google (yes, you read it correctly...more info about that below). ;-)


One of the best sessions we saw was Riccardo Spagni, lead developer of Monero. He had good things to say, and presented himself well. We learned, very quickly, that there is a wide gap in the blockchain space between those who have real substance in product or knowledge, and those who don't.

We had a chance to pitch Red/C3 project to Charlie Lee, Litecoin's creator. He found it promising and asked if Litecoin's VM could be supported. As Litecoin is using an instruction set compatible with Bitcoin's Script, he was glad to hear that such support was already on our roadmap.


Red team and NEO team (Da HongFei and Johnson Zhao)

We also booked a meeting with NEO (a Chinese competitor of Ethereum, basically) at the conference. When we met NEO's team, including Da HongFei, founder of NEO, and Johnson Zhao, their Global Development Director, it went so well that they asked us to attend the NEO DevCon in SF two days later, and have Nenad on a panel about smart contract programming. That panel was a resounding success for Red. Where NEO plans to support C#, Python, JS, and more for blockchain programming, it was clear that DSLs are what everyone really wants for smart contracts.



Now, about the big "G" company. :-) We were lucky to meet a Google manager and engineer at the GoBlockchainConnect conference, and talked with them several times about Red and our plans for covering smart contracts and Dapp development. They just happened to be the two people in charge of the internal blockchain group at Google, and found Red intriguing enough to invite us for a full demo at Google's HQ in Mountain View! The demo went very well, they were astonished by what Red could do already, and how we leverage dialects (eDSLs) to reduce complexity, especially in the UI domain. It quickly turned into a brainstorming session about the possible applications of Red and /C3 in the blockchain industry, and disruptive potential to traditional markets. This resulted in a further invitation to present Red to a much larger internal group at Google, as soon as we have a working prototype for smart contract coding. Do we need to emphasize the potential of such interest by big G? ;-)

Photos taken at the entrance of Google's offices, taking shots inside is strictly forbidden.

In light of all the new potential in the Silicon Valley, we are planning to open an office in the Bay Area, as soon as possible, and recruit a team there.

Even with the ETH we raised, it's all we can afford in SV. ;-)

It was a long week, with long hours, but well worth it in the end. We learned that Red is in a very solid position, and because we're able to move quickly, our chances of success are good. We have a much longer history than other projects out there, though our blockchain strategy is a new aspect. We have real, solid technology that works today, and that's huge. Our community (growing up over 7 years) is also one of our great strengths, and putting things in motion to make use of RED tokens to thank and reward you is near the top of our priority list.

Next article will be published tomorrow, and will talk about our meeting with Carl. ;-)

January 16, 2018

RED Token Sale Success!

Dear RED supporters,

We did it!

I’d like to thank you, and the entire Red community, for supporting us throughout this token sale process. We know that you've waited patiently for new features and releases while we worked on it. We’re thrilled that so many of you are excited about using Red, the upcoming tools we'll build together, and using RED tokens in the community. Blockchain based "tokenomics" is a new and exciting world of possibilities that we can help create, together.

In the past month, since RED’s debut, there has been overwhelming interest in our token sale. We deeply appreciate that support, from all parts of the world.

We can now confidently embark on the next steps in Red's development, thanks to each and every one of you. The establishment of the Red Foundation and the development of Red/C3 are top priorities, but this doesn't mean all the other work stops. The success of the RED token sale means we can redouble our efforts, moving forward in greater strides, knowing we're on solid ground. Your support means more opportunities for the Red community to contribute and be properly acknowledged. Yes, we have a lot of work and planning to do, but we have a strong, clear vision and deep desire to see it through. The wheels are already in motion and I look forward to letting you know each time we complete a major milestone.

We are so grateful, more than we can say, to have such a supportive (and growing) community around us. On behalf of the entire RED team, I want to share our appreciation for you all, and I personally want to thank each of you for loving and believing in Red.

To Red's future, our future!

January 13, 2018

Registration Special Offer

Dear Red users and followers,

Thank you all for your genuine interest in Red, we greatly appreciate it.

We have received overwhelming requests and a very high number of documents for the registration.

It is the contributions from each and every one of you that makes Red great, and we thank you very much for your strong support. During that time, I was giving a speech at the FINWISE 2018 conference in Macau, as part of our road show for introducing Red to the blockchain community.

We set up strict rules for the acceptation process in order to secure it as best as possible. So we want to take the time to carefully review each provided document.

This is what we propose for those of you who submitted valid KYC verification information before UTC 7:30am, January 12th 2018, and could not participate to early bird round:

    1. We will send you a confirmation email informing you about your successful registration.

    2. You will then be whitelisted (all at once) and be able to buy the remaining RED tokens from the early birds supply, and at the upcoming open round.

   3. For those of you who could not participate to early bird round, but submitted the valid KYC before UTC 7:30am, January 12th 2018, and who will be buying during the open round, we will refund you 10% of the ETH amount you sent (you will be keeping all the RED tokens you will get), effectively giving you the same conversion ratio as during the early birds round.

We hope this is a satisfying solution and will make things right for those who could not participate yesterday.

The open round starts on UTC 8am January 16th. Get ready! ;-)

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