An implementation exists, so the author has something working, but I'm wondering how robust the parsing is. I haven't seen many code examples (only short fragments on the page), so I don't know what potential issues, if any, there are. But, this is the sort of thing that could significantly complicate adding new language features that requires additional syntax.
edit: I'm perusing the source for the compiler, which is of course written in Zinc. This code from the main driver of the compiler perhaps gives a better feel for how it may look in practice:
while i < argc
def arg = argv[i]
if is equal (arg, "-debug")
debug = true
elsif is equal (arg, "-v")
version = true
elsif is equal (arg, "-u")
unicode = true
elsif is equal (arg, "-o") && i < argc-1
out filename = new string (bundle, argv[++i])
to OS name (out filename)
elsif is equal (arg, "-I") && i < argc-1
append (include path, new string (bundle, argv[++i]))
filename = new string (bundle, arg)
For example I was wondering if "new" is a keyword. If it is, then "new string ()" might be something interesting, otherwise it's just a function call.
Similarly this raises a question of whether I can write the following code:
if end of line (str)
if end_of_line (str)
He wrote every single keyword == all the keywords.
That's not basic knowledge of a language.
Maybe I'm odd, but when I start on a new language I don't learn all the syntax first, I usually I start mucking around with variable declaration, iterators, simple stuff like that just to get a feel of it. I'm guessing it's not that odd as most tutorials also follow that approach.
You can form a rough guess of what the various tokens are in a snippet of Ruby code without knowing all the keywords, and you can do the same with Zinc code. Any additional difficulty is most likely because you're less familiar with Zinc, not because it has the nearly universal property of needing to know the full grammar to correctly parse arbitrary programs.
And I agree, playing around with a language is a great way to learn. But if you play around without reading about the things you're doing first, you should expect not to always know what you're doing. That's a huge part of the learning process.
With Zinc, you need to know what all the keywords are just to tell what the name of something is.
And that doesn't even start on additions to the language completely breaking your code because you used that word in an identifier somewhere...