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Re: succinctness = power

   Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 13:19:13 -0400
   From: "Anton van Straaten" <anton@appsolutions.com>

			    Also, in some cases with sufficiently small,
   one-off programs, high levels of semantic compression may not be directly

Indeed, whether to introduce a macro (in the Lisp sense) is a
judgement call, just as whether to introduce a
subroutine/function/procedure/method is a judgement call.  Introducing
any of these things is like an investment; there's a certain up-front
cost to the person trying to understand the program: I have to
remember the name of this macro/function/whatever and associate that
with its meaning.  The investment pays off more and more if (a) the
concept encapsulated by the macro/function/whatever is something that
seems to make sense in and of itself, and (b) the
macro/function/whatever is used many times.  The more (a) and (b)
are true, the more the existence of the macro/function makes the
program easier to understand and maintain.

If we actually ran some kind of automatic pattern-recognizer to
automatically extract macros/functions from our code, I think it might
sometimes violate (a): it might find patterns that are factorable, but
the line it draws around this commonality might not actually reflect a
"meaningful" concept.