Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: The challenge of metaprogramming comment 000

"The distance between lisp code and the AST is very small, which limits the textual/structural disonance."

Very well put, as I like to say in Lisp the syntax is the semantics. This feature of Lisp is profound and it makes Lisp unlike any other language. Lisp and her pretty sister Scheme are essentially sugared lambda calculus. They blur the distinction between program and data. Since a program is itself just data this makes Metaprogramming easy. Using these for DSLs is imho the best approach to higher level programming.

Comment on The challenge of metaprogramming comment 000
by Bob Dionne


I think Tcl is has a surprisingly unified syntactic model, based on strings and quoting roles, instead of lists and symbols.
# Ian Bicking

Yes, but it's also the source of some of its biggest problems. Parameter passing is a MESS. I used Tcl heavily at one point (starting when it was pretty much the only game in town for embedding into C). We built some neat stuff that was easily extensible.

One measure of a language is what happens when a program/system approaches the complexity limits of the language. In most languages, development gradually gets more difficult. Each feature takes more time to develop. In Tcl, users hit the wall HARD when those limits get near. This is mostly because of the string substitution model and its impact on program structure.

I'd still use Tcl for some things, but only when I KNEW that Tcl would only be used to express very simple programs.

# Reilly Hayes