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Re: [External] : Re: Shrinking the C core

From: Arthur Miller
Subject: Re: [External] : Re: Shrinking the C core
Date: Sat, 09 Sep 2023 13:55:46 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13)

Drew Adams <drew.adams@oracle.com> writes:

> FWIW, +1 for your mail, Arthur -
> pretty much each of the points you made.
> ___
> As one who's used CL (long ago) but is
> no expert about it or Elisp or Lisp
> generally, I happen to agree about the
> usefulness of keyword args _for users_.

Interestingly, how things can be percieved wrongly over the wire.
I always percieved you as an CL veteran and expert :).

> I can't really speak to implementation,
> compilation, maintenance, etc., all of
> which are of course also important.
> AFAIK there has never been a real, open,
> serious discussion about keyword args
> for Elisp.  And (I think) I've always
> respected the decision to not bring up
> the question.  But I do appreciate it
> being at least _presented_, if not put
> on the table for outright discussion.
> In general, I like that Richard speaks
> up and decides, and I generally agree
> with his judgments as helmsman.  But on
> this one my own experience tells me
> something different.
> Not that I have any interesting opposing
> arguments.  Nor do I want to argue about
> this.  But my experience with CL has led
> me to appreciate the ease and handiness
> of using keyword args.

I really didn't want to argue about keyword arguments either, but
Richard brought them up himself. Like you, and probably everyone else
who is familiar with Richards writing through the years, through his
articles and this very mailing list, I am aware of the elephant in the
room, but honestly, I think his friends, Eli and others, are too kind and
would do Richard more favor if they told him when he is dead wrong and
made him to challenge his own view on some questions from time to
time. This reminded me of John Cleese and Faulty Towers, no idea if you
had that in States, but I think every European here knows which episode
I am thinking of at the moment.

> Argument order, and the need to provide
> all args up through the last optional
> one you really want to provide, are an
> unnecessary burden on human readers of
> code.  Writers too, of course, but it's
> more important that code be clear for
> readers (including writers as readers).
> Unnecessary burden.  So Occam asks "Why
> then?".  In his role as _implementer_ of
> a language Occam might ask "Why bother
> with keywords args?"  But in his role as
> user I think his question would be "Why
> always need to know & respect arg order?"
> I also haven't noticed that having named
> arguments is detrimental to code that
> analyses or generates code.  I have some,
> but less, experience with that - maybe
> it's something to consider; dunno.
> ___
> That's likely all I'll say about this.
> Just one opinion.  Keyword args can be
> incredibly useful _for users_.

Thank you, for wording this so concisely.  You are much better with
words than me. I am not a good writer, not even in my own language, so
mine explanations and arguments are always long and round-about for some

Best regards

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