A critic of Guido's blog on Python's lambda

Ken Tilton kentilton at gmail.com
Sun May 7 03:11:38 CEST 2006

Alex Martelli wrote:
> Ken Tilton <kentilton at gmail.com> wrote:
>    ...
>>True but circular, because my very point is that () was a great design
>>choice in that it made macros possible and they made CL almost 
>>infinitely extensible, while indentation-sensitivity was a mistaken 
>>design choice because it makes for very clean code (I agree 
>>wholeheartedly) but placed a ceiling on its expressiveness.
> Having to give functions a name places no "ceiling on expressiveness",
> any more than, say, having to give _macros_ a name.
>>As for:
>>> At a syntax-sugar
>>>level, for example, Lisp's choice to use parentheses as delimiter means
>>>it's undesirable, even unfeasible, to use the single character '(' as an
>>>ordinary identifier in a future release of the language.
>>(defun |(| (aside) (format nil "Parenthetically speaking...~a." aside))
>>=> |(|
>>(|(| "your Lisp /is/ rusty.")
>>=> "Parenthetically speaking...your Lisp /is/ rusty.."
>>:) No, seriously, is that all you can come up with?
> Interestingly, the SECOND lisper to prove himself unable to read the
> very text he's quoting.  Reread carefully, *USE THE ***SINGLE***
> CHARACTER* ... *AS AN ORDINARY IDENTIFIER*.  What makes you read a
> ``PART OF''  that I had never written?  You've shown how to use the
> characters as *PART* of an identifier [[and I believe it couldn't be the
> very start]], and you appear to believe that this somehow refutes my
> assertion?

  The function name here:

(|(| "Boy, your Lisp is rusty")
-> Boy, your Lisp is rusty.

...is exactly one (1) character long.

(length (symbol-name'|(|) -> 1

Why? (symbol-name '|(|) -> "("  (No, the "s are not part of the name!)

If you want to argue about that, I will have to bring up the Lisp 
readtable. Or did you forget that, too?



Cells: http://common-lisp.net/project/cells/

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