Feature suggestion -- return if true

Chris Rebert clp2 at rebertia.com
Tue Apr 12 22:26:48 CEST 2011

On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 11:00 AM, Teemu Likonen <tlikonen at iki.fi> wrote:
> * 2011-04-12T10:27:55+10:00 * James Mills wrote:
>> On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM, zildjohn01 <zildjohn01 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> This is an idea I've had bouncing around in my head for a long time
>>> now. I propose the following syntax:
>> Maybe this is more appropriare for the python-ideas list ?
>>>    return? expr
>> This syntax does not fit well within python ideology.
> I'm a simple Lisp guy who wonders if it is be possible to add some kind
> of macros to the language. Then features like this could be added by
> anybody. Lisp people do this all the time and there is no need for
> feature requests or any discussions.

I think Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's comments on open-world sandbox video
games (of all things) have a lot of applicability to why allowing
full-on macros can be a bad idea.

Paraphrasing liberally from his review of Far Cry 2:
"Letting the [programmer] create their own [language constructs is]
always done at the expense of proper [orthogonality, elegance, and
coherence]. Maybe sometimes I don't want to create my own [programming
language] experience. Maybe I want to have an experience that's been
carefully crafted by professional [language] designers and
[architects]. But [a] delusion has arisen that absolutely anyone can
contribute something valid, regardless of qualifications. In TV news
for example, you'll often see them pause to hear the opinion of a
seventy-five-year-old housebound racist from Lemington. And now you
get [languages] like [Lisp] that rely heavily on user-made [language
constructs]. Which I prophesise doom for, because most people are not
[language] designers, and you're just going to end up with oceans of
slurry, as indeed we have. It's like giving someone a stack of paper
and a [pen] and claiming that that's as good as the latest [New York
Times] bestseller."

IOW, a language is usually better for having such discussions and
having a fairly coherent worldview enforced by the existence of a
managing authority.


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