Re: extensible languages, was Compiler/Language eXperiment

Ray Dillinger <>
30 Jan 2002 20:43:26 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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Re: extensible languages, was Compiler/Language eXperiment (Ray Dillinger) (2002-01-30)
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From: Ray Dillinger <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 30 Jan 2002 20:43:26 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 01-11-135 02-01-103 02-01-144
Keywords: syntax, design
Posted-Date: 30 Jan 2002 20:43:26 EST

Hannah Schroeter wrote:
> >[Back in the 1970s, languages with extensible syntax led to write-only
> >code with no two programs using the same syntax. Have they solved that
> >problem? -John]
> Seems the Lisp community isn't doing so bad with all their macros
> and reader-macros, is it?
> Kind regards,
> Hannah.
> [I dunno, can people from different Lisp camps read each other's code? -John]

Generally, if they are different Common Lisp camps, yes. Common Lisp
basically encapsulated most of the library functionality that coders
were hanging different syntax and function names on, so now
everybody's using the libraries' syntax etc instead of rolling their

If they are different Scheme camps, it's much less likely that someone
from a different camp will be able to read someone's code. In scheme,
everybody implements their own libraries and extensions. When I say
"everybody", I mean both language implementations *and* application
programmers. There's not much convergence.

Dunno that much about how things work between different elisp and
autolisp camps -- I haven't dealt with people trying to read each
other's code very much in those languages, personally, and I haven't
even worked with Autolisp at all. The elisp I've seen hasn't gone in
much for the syntax extensions and stuff, so it may be pretty
mutually-comprehensible, although the dynamic scoping makes it
intensely strange and occasionally frustrating to people who, like me,
learned some other lisp first.


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