Subject: Re: backslashes in strings
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/04/20
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erik Naggum <>
| reading "foo\nbar" as "foonbar" is a very quiet error.

* Kent M Pitman <>
| ASSUMING it is in fact an error at all.  It HAS a semantics.  You assume
| that semantics is not used, and this is an error.

  I think you misread me here.  assuming that a programmer decides to use a
  C-style backslashing convention and sets up his system so that it prints
  and is assumed to read such strings, "foo\nbar" is evidence of the intent
  to store a string whose fourth character when read back is a newline.
  given this assumption, it is a very _quiet_ error to return a string
  whose fourth character is the letter n.  and this is precisely what will
  happen if the string is read back with standard syntax.

  the whole point of my example was to show that while the changes to the
  readtable that I have made (destructively) in my system will result in
  loud errors when parsed with standard syntax, there is, as you point out,
  _standard_ semantics for the choice of string syntax that produced the

| I repeat: Languages are ecologies.

  thanks for repeating this for our new viewers, but I think I have that
  truth down pat.