How to Run Simply Scheme on Windows

Goal: To be able to run Scheme on Windows, particularly the flavor “Simply Scheme”.

There is a great computer science book called Simply Scheme by Brian Harvey and Matthew Wright. Professor Brian Harvey also taught a great class CS61A at the University of California, Berkeley. Our goal is to be able to run Simply Scheme so that we can follow along the book and its exercises.

Illustrated by Polly Jordan, from page 4 of the book Simply Scheme

Simply Scheme uses custom Scheme commands to teach some important programming concepts. These commands are not available on regular Scheme but their value cannot be undermined in helping to learn more easily concepts taught in the book like recursion, higher order functions, composition, abstraction and more.

The best and easiest way to run scheme on Windows is via DrRacket from the Racket language site. Racket download provides a nice integrated learning environment DrRacket and it can be extended to run Simply Scheme via a package “Danny Yoo’s Simply Scheme”.

1. Download and install DrRacket from here https://download.racket-lang.org/

2. Start Racket, then click on File -> Package Manager

3. Click the tab “Available from Catalog”, then type “simply” in the filter. You should see “simply-scheme” listed. Select “simply-scheme” and click the Install button.

4. After installation, close the dialog box and restart the DrRacket

5. Choose Language -> New Language from the menu bar. Then select Simply Scheme as shown below.

6. You should be able to run Simply Scheme programs now. Here is an example program that implements “Pig Latin”.

7. Bonus: If you like Emacs Key bindings then enable it in Edit -> Preferences -> Editing. Make sure the option is “unchecked” for Enable keybindings in menus.

Enjoy Simply Scheme!

I remind myself: It can be easy to learn new languages and syntax. Then tedious to keep up to date with endless frameworks. But great programming concepts are timeless, so it’s a good idea to learn them well.