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In this whole macro thread we have also been overlooking the fact that Lisp programmers have a bigger reliance on tool support than Lua programmers. Having macros without having some introspection framework in place to interrogate what a particular snippet of source means (if it's a special form, a function, or a macro, if a macro what it expands to, even fetching documentation inline) has to be very painful. Of course this applies to libraries, too, but the thresold here is probably bigger than with macros.

There's something of a chicken and egg problem here. :-) Are the Lisp (and Smalltalk, which does not have macros but certainly has a very distinctive coding style that is very painful to work with without the tool support) coding styles the way they are because of their tools, or the language? Smalltalk always had the tools, but how was Lisp code before Lisp machines/Emacs?

Fabio Mascarenhas

On Feb 7, 2008 4:05 PM, Fabien <> wrote:

Macros are not simply syntax. And the fact that Lisps can't (or won't) encourage any particular coding style is also more than simply a syntactical matter.

Lisps are the ultimate tools to write applications:
- in tiny teams of very proficient developers
- when you don't really want to reuse existing libraries, and don't expect your code to be reused.
That's a perfectly legitimate niche, but a pretty narrow one.