What does Python fix?

Steven Majewski sdm7g at Virginia.EDU
Thu Jan 17 20:09:18 CET 2002


On Thu, 17 Jan 2002, Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:

> Btw. The nonsense that many Lisp advocates promote about redefining the
> syntax is just that.  Of course one can do that in principle.  Define
> your own infix syntax that is dynamically parsed into S-expressions, or
> whatever.  But nobody *does* it for the vast majority of Lisp code.  So
> trying to read real-life Lisp is still a matter of counting parentheses
> and mental translation to the "actual" infix of operators.  YMMV.

I love programming in both Lisp and Python, and I can tell you that
while writing Lisp is easy once you get the hang of it, reading it,
especially someone else's Lisp code isn't nearly as effortless.

That's the problem with custon syntax: it doesn't really help you
at all unless everyone else uses it. (Well -- maybe it would be
worthwhile if you could get everyone on a large project to use the
same custom syntax -- just like sites have their own C style standards.)

When Dylan was being developed, there were plans for a Lisp-like
S-expression syntax as well as the more C like algebraic syntax.
They decided to drop the S-syntax -- to the annoyance of quite a
few Lispers. I believe they decided that a two syntax language
would not be 'stable' -- that eventually one would win out, so the
picked the one they wanted to promote.


-- Steve Majewski






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