Subject: Re: Why learn Lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 27 Aug 2002 21:41:12 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (Ziv Caspi)
| Yes, that's the point. Commas, semicolons, parens, braces in C provide
| a larger diversity than parens and whitespace alone. This makes it
| more difficult to parse, much more difficult (if not impossible) to do
| the type of things people use LISP macros for, etc. But it also makes
| it easier on the human eye to read.

  This, is, a, (curious), position, to, hold.  The, amount, of, [punctuation],
  in, (normal, writing), is, pretty, low, and, { ensures; }, that, punctuation,
  has, meaning; [distinct] from the normal { flow; } of the language.  In, C,
  the, [punctuation], is, so, { heavy }, that, the, reader, [must], pay, acute,
  { attention; }, to, it, even, though, it, is, (largely), meaningless.  This,
  is, not, [easier], to, read, as, this, paragraph, should, be, have, [shown],
  you.  When, an, { assortment; }, of, punctuation, is, made, into, background,
  { noise; }, the, result: is, that; people, become, [hypersensitized], to();
  changes, in, the, punctuation, they, have, to, (read && would), reject, any,
  languages, with, a, simpler, syntax && other, punctuation, to, ignore.

  If you have become used to C, the empirical evidence is that you have a very
  hard time reading languages with other syntaxes.  This is prima facie
  evidence that the C syntax family requires an expensive learning process and
  constant refreshes.  I found myself frustrated when I tried to write a
  couple hundred lines of C recently to exercise some Linux features and make
  them available to Common Lisp (particularly the dnotify facility) and all
  the keyboarding was just /painful/ compared to the swift typing that I
  usually achieve with Common Lisp and English.

| My example was meant to show that the scope introduced when a variable is
| declared can be "hidden" in C/C++, which makes it easier to read.

  Where /did/ you get the notion that "easier to read" is universalizable and
  one-dimensional to boot?  Sheesh, you prove that you have no clue what you
  talk about when you treat "easier to read" as a metric that is unrelated to

| Your examples on the type of syntax transformations one can do in LISP,
| however, don't contradict my point, as far as I can see.

  What /would/ contradict your point?  It seems to be remarkably resilient,
  but mainly in your own view.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.