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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp

From: Bruce Stephens
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 10:13:54 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

Joshua Haberman <address@hidden> writes:


> It also leaves me with the impression that lisp is primarily the
> domain of language tinkering as opposed to being a productive tool,
> especially if the language is constantly morphing.

It's not that the language morphs outside of your control.  

The idea is that as you gain understanding in the problem you're
trying to solve, you morph the language to be more suitable for
solving it.

So (ideally) you get a collection of (possibly reusable) low-level
functions/macros, and a program that's easy to understand and modify,
because it's expressed in terms close to the problem.

In a way, that's what you do in all languages: you build
functions/objects/libraries, and that's really the same as extending
the language.  Lisp just takes it a bit further, allowing things like
control structures to be defined.  

The very simple syntax means that such constructs can fit cleanly into
the language.  The simple syntax also means that writing these new
constructs is convenient and natural.  One can imagine doing similar
tricks in Perl 6, using the supplied Perl 6 parser to parse and
manipulate source code, but that seems unlikely to be as natural as
using backquote to construct a lisp macro.


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