[Openmcl-devel] Fwd: Soliciting examples of Lisp macros

Robert Boyer boyer at cs.utexas.edu
Tue Dec 16 17:23:26 UTC 2008


For the rhetorical purposes you describe, I think it is
best to 'keep it simple', so I suggest you ask your
interlocutor:

   How would you provide COND if you only had IF?

   How would you provide LIST if you only had CONS?

   How would you provide SETQ if you only had SET?

   How would you provide DEFUN if you only had
   SYMBOL-FUNCTION?

I think that if non-Lisp people see these simple,
crucial concepts introduced by macros, they can get a
glimmer of the power of macros.

One of the most remarkable things about Lisp is how
remarkable it is that hardly anyone ignorant of Lisp is
aware of what a remarkable thing they are missing in
not having first-class macros.

Actually, the fewer people coding new macros, the
better, I say.  The introduction of macros is like the
introduction of a new language, something very dubious,
though sometimes crucial.  And then there are
readmacros!

Bob




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