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Re: Rather, DSSLs increase modularity, productivity

On Mon, 2003-11-17 at 08:11, Dan Sugalski wrote:
> On Mon, 17 Nov 2003, Mike Newhall wrote:
> >
> >        LISP-like languages aren't attractive solely for implementation
> > reasons, I think; LISP wins for ease of programming.
> Well... maybe, but not in my experience. On the projects I've worked on
> with embedded LISP-like languages we all swore with some regularity at the
> languages *because* of their inherent LISP-y nature. Writing the code was
> more of a headache and hassle, and went more slowly than it would've in
> the embedding language. We used them, though, because there was no
> alternative. We needed the embedded, dynamic language and had only a
> little bit of I-space (even with overlays) to throw at the problem.

How much easier is it really to implement a Lisp like language? 
Certainly lexing and parsing is easier, but with tools like lex/yacc and
a sane syntax an infix language can be pretty lightweight and simple to
implement too.  Once you get to an AST the rest is all more or less the
same, right?

A real DSL also seems likely to benefit from some syntactic sugar, so
s-expr syntax isn't necessarily a win from the user's point of view,
especially given that the casual users of a interactive, scripting-style
DSL are probably not going to like entering s-exprs interactively.

There's a discussion going on on the Bay Area Lispniks list on the pros
and cons of s-expr syntax.  It seems to me that the only really killer
application of s-exprs is in Lisp-style procedural macros, but perhaps
my enlightenment is just around the corner.

Miles Egan <miles@caddr.com>

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