Subject: Re: Prefix vs Infix vs ... (was Re: `Understanding Common Lisp' book available...)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 11 Sep 2000 10:47:45 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Chris Page <>
| One thing to consider about the whole "Lisp syntax" issue is that
| simplicity and orthogonality can sometimes be too "smooth", making
| them less expressive than more complex and irregular solutions.
| Always keep in mind the possibility that a convoluted syntax like
| that of C++ may actually have some merits.

  This is a really odd argument.  Are you confused into thinking that
  every CL object is expressed via explicit calls to the type
  constructor, as in a list?  Once you learn to _exploit_ Common Lisp,
  you find that the syntax has rough edges on that smooth surface.
  When you learn to write your own syntax-supporting reader functions,
  you find that you don't even need one-character prefix dispatch that
  basically read like lists.  (I'm counting #x as a one-character
  prefix on x, too, treating the # just like "meta" represented by the
  escape key.)  If you like more syntax, go for it!  No language is
  more flexible in the syntax department than Common Lisp is.

  If other syntaxes had had merit _to_Lisp_programmers_, they would
  have been implemented and most probably shared amongst them.

  I think you should try to understand how come people don't argue for
  the merits of the syntax of C++, but rather for not deviating from
  it.  A hint: It hurts like hell to learn C++ and so those who do it
  while not aware of their predicament become psychologically scarred
  and feel the heavy pressure of deep angst at the sight of foreign
  syntaxes, fearing more torture and abuse before they can understand.

  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.