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Re: XML as a transition to s-expr

Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> writes:

>  * the Lisp community has an attitude, totally at odds with, let's say
> the Perl community, that you can get around this problem with the "right
> tools" that will do brace-matching for you.

Actually, it was with C programming that I developed a dependence on the
"right tools".  Forgetting a semicolon could sometimes have strange
consequences.  Sometimes I might forget to add curlies when adding a
second consequent to a conditional.  Ctrl-J in emacs would make my error

C managed to become popular despite this difficulty.

>  * the parens do not sufficiently denote "parts of speech". Consider the
> two examples described by this URL:
> http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/wilson/schintro/schintro_21.html#SEC21

You mean an open paren might exist just for grouping, not to precede a
verb?  C also uses parens for both function application and grouping.

C managed to become popular despite this difficulty.

>  * car, cdr, cadr, cons etc. are not exactly newbie friendly names for
> core functions.

char *argv[];
printf("%s\n", foo);
  aren't exactly newbie-friendly core syntax.

C managed to become popular despite this difficulty.

>  * most people learn procedural programming in high school. They don't
> learn the functional, recursive style.

Now you've hit upon the real issue.  I understand some people are
working on this problem.

>  * we've already discussed how important libraries are. "Scheme" can't
> become popular until I can download any random scheme and expect a
> rich set of libraries.

The Java-based Schemes can easily piggyback off of Java libraries.  A
lot of the C-based Schemes have good FFIs as well.  I get the impression
MzScheme has a lot of libraries available out-of-the-box.

More specifically, though, the target audience for BRL mostly won't need
a rich set of libraries.  Using the FFI won't be onerous for those few
that do.

> Some specific Scheme distribution might become popular, I guess, but
> then you've got a fragmented community with books that apply to Scheme
> versus those that apply to the distribution, etc.

SQL managed to become popular despite having this difficulty much more
severely than Scheme ever did.

<brlewis@[(if (brl-related? message)    ; Bruce R. Lewis
              "users.sourceforge.net"   ; http://brl.sourceforge.net/