Subject: Re: Lisp is alive, was "Re: Common LISP: The Next Generation"
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1996/09/19
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

[Mike Haertel]

|   Of course, when using lisp "read" you lose comments and other
|   formatting.

a reader-macro bound to #\; may gobble up the the rest of the line and
return it as a list (|;| "rest of line").  similarly for #|...|#.  the
formatting would be lost, but if it was generated by machine, it can be
regenerated without loss, which is my second point...

|   So it's suitable, perhaps, for writing source-code munging tools which
|   are expected to produce results for machine consumption only.

there is very little variation in formatting styles for Lisp compared to
other languages.  when there is variation, the pretty-printer can be
customized by the same programmer that wrote the source code.  I don't
think a Lisp programmer would indent by hand, and even those that don't
follow customary formatting styles modify the pretty-printer to suit their
needs.  in effect, the code that they write is already indented by machine.

|   But if you want to write a source-code formatter like "indent", or a
|   pretty printer, it's just about as difficult in Lisp as any other
|   language, because of the non-syntactic stuff you have to deal with.

you really should take a look at GNU Emacs' lisp-mode and cc-mode.  you
betray ignorance of existing systems that implement "indent" for numerous
languages and their relative sizes and complexity.  cc-mode is at least an
order of magnitude more complex than lisp-mode, including the support

those who do not know Lisp are doomed to reimplement it