[racket] ANN: first draft of R7RS small language available

From: Alex Shinn (alexshinn at gmail.com)
Date: Fri Apr 15 21:30:59 EDT 2011

Apologies if you receive multiple copies of this message.

The first draft of the R7RS small language standard is now
available at:


This is a relatively small revision to the R5RS, adding many of
the most frequently requested features but keeping the overall
structure of the report the same, with a current count of 67
pages.  In the spirit of the older reports, many situations are
left as errors or unspecified, leaving room for implementations
to experiment with their own extensions.  The language is still
small enough to provide a very compact implementation of, and the
current development branch of Chibi-Scheme provides all of the
functionality of the draft (in some cases with different names or
modules, pending finalization of the standard).

The upcoming large language standard produced by WG2 will include
far more modules, and possibly provide more guarantees about the
behavior in currently unspecified situations.

Most importantly, we have added modules, allowing programmers to
share portable libraries with ease.  We hope implementors
consider the effort of supporting the new standard small compared
to that important benefit.  Keep in mind that nothing is
finalized yet, and at this stage we are seeking constructive

The full list of changes up to this point follows.

* Modules have been added as a new program structure to improve
  encapsulation and sharing of code. Some existing and new
  identifiers have been factored out into separate modules.

* Exceptions can now be signalled explicitly with raise,
  raise-continuable or error, and can be handled with
  with-exception-handler and the guard syntax.

* New disjoint types supporting access to multiple fields can be
  generated with define-record-type.

* Parameter objects can be created with make-parameter, and
  dynamically rebound with parameterize.

* Blobs, homogeneous vectors of integers in the range [0..255],
  have been added as a new disjoint type.

* Ports can now be designated as binary or character ports, with
  new procedures for reading and writing binary data.

* String ports have been added as a way to write characters to
  and read characters from strings.

* Current-input-port and current-output-port are now parameter
  objects, along with the newly introduced current-error-port.

* Syntax-rules now recognizes as a wildcard, allows the ellipsis
  symbol to be specified explicitly instead of the default ...,
  allows template escapes with an ellipsis-prefixed list, and
  allows tail patterns to follow an ellipsis pattern.

* Syntax-error has been added as a way to signal immediate and
  more informative errors when a form is expanded.

* Internal define-syntax forms are now allowed preceding any
  internal defines.

* Letrec* has been added, and internal define specified in terms
  of it.

* Case now supports a => syntax analagous to cond.

* Case-lambda has been added to the base library as a way to
  dispatch on the number of arguments passed to a procedure.

* Positive and negative infinity and a NaN object have been added
  to the numeric tower as inexact values with the written
  representations +inf.0, -inf.0 and +nan.0, respectively.

* Map and for-each are now required to terminate on the shortest
  list when inputs have different length.

* Member and assoc now take an optional third argument for the
  equality predicate to use.

* Exact-integer? and exact-integer-sqrt have been added.

* Make-list, copy-list, list-set!, string-map, string-for-each,
  string->vector, copy-vector, vector-map, vector-for-each, and
  vector->string have been added to round out the sequence

* The set of characters used is required to be consistent with
  the latest Unicode standard only in so far as the
  implementation supports Unicode.

* string-ni=? and related procedures have been added to compare
  strings as though they had gone through an
  implementation-defined normalization, without exposing the

* The case-folding behavior of the reader can now be explicitly
  controlled, with no folding as the default.

* The reader now recognizes the new comment syntax #; to skip the
  next datum, and allows nested block comments with #| ... |#.

* Data prefixed with reader labels #<n>= can be referenced with
  #<n># allowing for reading and writing of data with shared

* Strings and symbols now allow mnemonic and numeric escape
  sequences, and the list of named characters has been extended.

* File-exists? and delete-file are available in the (scheme file)

* An interface to the system environment and command line is
  available in the (scheme process-context) module.

* Procedures for accessing the current time are available in
  the (scheme time) module.

* A complete set of integer division operators is available in
  the (scheme division) module.

* Transcript-on and transcript-off have been removed.

Thank you.

Alex Shinn, WG1 Chair

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