Subject: Re: `cond', IF .. THEN .. ELSE syntax vx. IF, WHEN, and COND
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/12/08
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (Raffael Cavallaro)
| Most programmers I know detest what they see as unnecessary parens in
| lisp.

  my take on this is that parens are necessary in lesser languages only
  when the operator precedence no longer make sense, and thus signal that
  something is more "complex" than it would have been without parentheses,
  and perhaps adding parentheses is something the programmer does only
  after hours of debugging, reinforcing the pain factor.  further, any C or
  C++ programmer knows that parens are actually dangerous in that they can
  mean any one of about 4711 different things depending on context you
  can't possibly squeeze into a single screen, no matter how big.  thus the
  parenthophobia would come from exposure badly designed languages.  one
  way to test this hypothesis is to see if people who are not exposed to
  badly designed languages (C/C++/etc) are equally afraid of parentheses.

  it's not exactly a scientifically valid argument, but I have never met a
  person who has seen Lisp in the important formative years who has this
  angst for parentheses, so I'll believe that the problem is that (some)
  people carry a lot of mental baggage from working with stupid languages.

  it sometimes helps to explain to these people that parentheses in Lisp
  are on par with {} and ; in C, and agree with them that C's parentheses
  are badly designed and horrible, because no matter how smart they are in
  Lisp, they _are_ a f*cking pain in the b*tt in C/C++/etc.

  The Microsoft Dating Program -- where do you want to crash tonight?