best book: aint no such thing, and encouragement for old coots

Eddie Corns eddie at
Mon Jan 19 18:51:24 CET 2004

cartermark46 at (Mark Carter) writes:

>I'm experimenting with learning a functional language; and I know
>almost zero about Scheme. I find it very difficult to understand the
>structure of what's going on. I downloaded Standard ML (the New Jersey
>offering), and find myself more inclined to dig into ML deeper; rather
>than Scheme. ML does, at first glance, seem more readable.

It's probably a lot more important to stretch yourself out in that direction
than to worry about which flavour.

>I suppose that Schemers and Lispers take the attitude that a lack of
>syntax is an advantage, because you can ultimately program in any
>paradigm you wish. It's "just" a case of writing code that implements
>the paradigm. I have also heard claims that the existence of
>parantheses in s-exprs is a red herring as far as readability is

The supposed unreadability is a complete nonsense, you quickly don't notice
the parentheses and rely mostly on the indentation.  I think I'll start
looking for another project I can do in Scheme, it's been ages.

>Non Schemers/Lispers, on the other hand, presumably think that a
>spoonful of syntactic sugar helps the medicine go down.

>I suspect that if there really was One Obviously Right Way To Do It,
>then we'd all be using it. No silver bullet, and all that.

>I am sure, though, that there will be many people who disagree with my

Who cares eh?  The important thing is to get the message through to the few
who can think for themselves and give them a chance to rise above the

Somehow I'm reminded of a sequence in a novel I was reading at the weekend:

Q:"Do you exercise?"
A:"Only restraint!"

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