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Re: Functional Paradigm popularity and Maths (Was: XML as a transition to s-expr)

   Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 04:23:06 -0800
   From: "David Simmons" <David.Simmons@smallscript.net>

   Lisp requires one to think in terms of "lists" and "recursion".

It really can't be emphasized enough that there is no such
requirement.  You can learn Lisp and program in Lisp and write
compilers and Ethernet drivers and graphics packages and mail readers
in Lisp and never use lists or recursion at all.

I have spent many years programming in each of Lisp, C++, and Java,
and I use or don't use recursion under exactly the same circumstances
independent of which of those languages I am programming in.

Lists are just a data structure in the library of useful data
structures.  You use them when they're appropriate and you don't when
they're not.

(Footnote 1: the Lisps I was using did not do tail-call elimination.
Footnote 2: Yes, you do need to learn about lists if you want to do
Lisp macros, but you aren't "required" to use macros, particularly if
we're comparing with a language that doesn't have that kind of macro,
and I don't think the little kids writing in Smalltalk are dealing in
that kind of macro.)