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Date: 2005-02-14 (00:11)
From: Michael Walter <>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] The boon of static type checking
On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 00:59:21 +0100 (CET), Thomas Fischbacher
<> wrote:
> On Sun, 13 Feb 2005, Michael Walter wrote:
> > > > I feel I've mentioned that so many times it should be in some FAQ ;o)
> > >
> > > With a parser generator (take zebu, for example) and, say,
> > > SET-DISPATCH-MACRO-CHARACTER, I just as well can give you any syntax you
> > > want on top of lisp. But I think you understand if I don't post code
> > > that explicitly demonstrates how to do that now.
> >
> > This has obvious restrictrions in Common Lisp (you even mentioned one
> > of them in UPPERCASE-LETTERS :).
> You can just as well put another REPL at the top. MAXIMA is an example of
> just one system that does precisely that.

Exactly! That's creating a new language.

> [...]
> In particular, it certainly is
> important to understand what syntactic conventions help human programmers
> to express their thoughts. 
> [...]
> So, again, syntax is not by itself an essential feature of the language.
I rate the "human factor" important enough to consider it as an
essential feature for programming languages meant to be used by

Of course, if you decide to use S-expressions primarily as a compiler
target that's an entirely different issue (to bad that this path
hasn't been explored that much, besides maybe Dylan).