[racket-dev] P4P: A Syntax Proposal

From: Eli Barzilay (eli at barzilay.org)
Date: Fri Jul 30 10:05:09 EDT 2010

On Jul 30, Robby Findler wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 4:05 AM, Eli Barzilay <eli at barzilay.org> wrote:
> > IMO, this thing is missing the point (the usual "parens, ewww!"
> > one), as long as it ignores infix.
> Seems to me that this point directly contradicts one of Shriram's
> design goals, namely showing that + is no more special than append
> or one of your own functions.

To make my point better: I think that this (treating them all the
same) is exactly what makes people dislike it.  Whether the open
paren appears before the function or after it, and whether you
separate arguments by spaces or commas is a minor point that is easy
to get adjusted too.  As an experiment, try these:

  (< (^ x 2) (/ d 10))
  <(^(x, 2), /(d, 10))
  x^2 < d/10

I obviously see the simplicity and elegance of the first.
I can certainly see the point that makes people want the third.

But the second looks like a mixed up version of the first, which makes
it harder to follow (I actually wrote it "top-down" since it didn't
make any sense otherwise).  So I don't see any advantages for the
second -- *especially* through the eyes of the many people who
complain about sexprs, and OTOH, I see a huge disadvantage (which
might be just me not being used to the open paren shift and the comma,
so if that cost goes away I'm left with a syntax that is redundantly
incompatible with sexprs).

And yes -- this is an arithmetic example, and most code is not
arithmetic, still -- it's these places that bother me (and seem to
bother others) most when it gets to sexpr syntax.  Avoiding infix
altogether (and even SK's manifesto has just a comment about not using
it) is IMO sticking your head in the sand, and makes the whole thing
look like the N+1th step in a long series of amusing posts in various
places that end up with no practical results besides a long discussion

          ((lambda (x) (x x)) (lambda (x) (x x)))          Eli Barzilay:
                    http://barzilay.org/                   Maze is Life!

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