The reference command line interpreter for the Roo programming language
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The reference command line interpreter for the Roo programming language

The Roo programming language

Roo is a cross-platform dynamically-typed interpreted open source scripting language which takes inspiration from Ruby (everything is an object) and Javascript. It supports both object-oriented and functional programming approaches and includes closures. The reference interpreter is roo which is written in Xojo.

Full documentation is available on the Roo homepage.


To play with Roo you'll need to install the roo interpreter. This is a command line tool that runs your source code. It can also be used as a REPL (much like Ruby's irb command). To install, you have a few choices:

1. Use a package manager (easiest)

Simple installation with Homebrew and Scoop is offered for macOS and Windows users.

If you're using macOS you can use the excellent Homebrew package manager to quickly install Roo:

brew tap gkjpettet/homebrew-roo
brew install roo

You can make sure that you've always got the latest version of Roo by running brew update in the Terminal. You'll know there's an update available if you see the following:

==> Updated Formulae
gkjpettet/roo/roo ✔

Then you'll know there's a new version available. To install it simply type brew upgrade in the Terminal.

If you're using Windows I recommend using Scoop to install Roo. Once You've setup Scoop, simply type the following into the Command Prompt or the Powershell:

scoop bucket add roo
scoop install roo

To update Roo run the following commands:

scoop update
scoop update roo

2. Install the precompiled binary and its dependencies

If you can't/don't want to use a package manager then I provide precompiled binaries for macOS (64-bit), Windows (32/64-bit) and x86 Linux (64-bit). Essentially just make sure that you install the roo binary and all its dependencies (included in the download) within your system's PATH. The Mac and Linux versions contain one file and one folder:

[roo Libs]

The Windows version includes several files and a folder:

[roo Libs]

I use a Mac and if I wasn't using Homebrew I would place roo and roo Libs/ in /usr/local/bin. You can grab the required files from the [releases page][releases].

3. Build the intepreter from source

Note: Requires a Xojo license and MBS plugin license

Simply clone this repo and build the app from within the Xojo IDE for your platform of choice. Remember to place the roo executable in your PATH (and make sure the dependency folder/files are in the same place).

In order to improve the performance of Roo I have had to use several classes within MonkeyBread Software's excellent Xojo plugin. Specifically the Regex and Hash classes. To successfully compile Roo with Xojo you'll need to purchase a license for this plugin. Then you need to create a module named RegisterPlugins containing a single method: MBS() as Boolean. This method should perform the plugin registration (included in your purchase of the plugin) and return True if it worked or False otherwise.

Once the roo interpreter is installed, you can start a REPL session by typing roo in the Terminal. This will give you a prompt and allow you to enter Roo code line by line and have it interpreted as you enter it. Good for playing around. It's worth noting that you don't have to terminate statements with semicolons a REPL session. To run a script, simply type roo [script.roo] where script.roo is the full path to the script to run.

Whilst there is no interactive debugger for Roo (yet), roo does provide reasonably accurate and helpful error messages if a problem is encountered either during program lexing, parsing or execution.

To quit a REPL session type CTRL-C or CTRL-D or CTRL-X (depending on your operating system). Or you can simply use the global quit statement.