Lisp refactoring puzzle

Teemu Likonen tlikonen at
Wed Jul 13 10:29:58 CEST 2011

* 2001-01-01T14:11:11-05:00 * Terry Reedy wrote:

> As a side note, the same principle of expressions matching operations
> in symmetry suggest that majority of up are quite sensible and not
> dumb idiots for preferring 'f(x)' to the '(f x)' of Lisp. In a
> function call, the function has a different role than the arguments,
> so it is appropriate that it have a different role in the expression.

Please don't forget that the whole point of Lisps' (f x) syntax is that
code is also Lisp data. It's not just a function call with arguments.
First, it's literal data (two linked cons cells and symbols) and then
the Lisp evaluating model makes it a function call in certain

Lisp is

    CL-USER> (let ((lisp (cons 'programmable nil)))
               (setf (rest lisp) lisp))
    #1=(PROGRAMMABLE . #1#)

programming language and it's totally irrelevant and pointless to say
"which syntax someone prefers" because this feature (code being data) is
very fundamental principle of the language. You know, it's easy to write
programs that write programs. If we remove this feature (i.e., don't
talk about Lisp at all) then it's perhaps relevant to discuss about such
choices in syntax.

You wouldn't want Python arrays have a read and print format "a[b, c]",
that is, the first item of the array printed outside []'s. It would be

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