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2 points by shader 3731 days ago | link | parent

Interesting. I was wondering if that might be the case.

So I guess that we don't need an anon. macro for that ;)

I'm also wondering whether we would ever actually want an anonymous macro, since often they turn out to be so general purpose that you might want to make a utility out of it.

Does arc have symbol macros?

4 points by absz 3731 days ago | link

I'm not really clear on what an anonymous macro would do. Transform code? If we're writing it in one place, we can just transform it right there. Can you give a usage example?

And no, Arc only has ordinary macros and ssyntax. Though actually---and this just occurred to me now---you can use ssyntax to create symbol macros. For instance, I have the following in a library file

  (= mac-seval $)
    @    (par apply R)
    $    (fn lists (apply map R lists))
    @    apply
    $    mac-seval)
The first two let me write (@func arg1 restargs) instead of (apply func arg1 restargs) and ($func xs) instead of (map xs). However, this $ makes the $ macro misbehave, and so I added ssyntax turning @ into apply and $ into the original $ macro. It turns out that this technique is fully generic, since ssyntax essentially does a find-and-replace on symbols:

  arc> (= defsym add-ssyntax-top)
  #3(tagged mac #<procedure>)
  arc> (defsym RANDOM (rand))
  arc> RANDOM
  arc> RANDOM
  arc> (= things '(alpha beta gamma))
  (alpha beta gamma)
  arc> (defsym THING1 (car things))
  arc> THING1
  arc> (= THING1 'one)
  arc> things
  (one beta gamma)
  arc> (defsym NOISY (do (prn 'HI) nil))
  arc> NOISY
  arc> (car NOISY)

This is actually really nifty, even if it's an unintended side effect. On some level, though, I'm not fully convinced of the value of this---it seems a bit omnipresent. Then again, Common Lisp works fine with them, so perhaps they're fine for Arc too. Are there naming conventions for symbol macros in Common Lisp? I used capital letters above just because I wanted some distinguishing mark.

There are a couple of caveats: first, every time you run add-ssyntax-top, you'll add another entry to the ssyntax table instead of overwriting the old one, so redefinition will make ssyntax slower if it's done too much. Second, the five tokens R, r, L, l, and ... are all unavailable, even if quoted; they turn the given string into modifying ssyntax, not standalone ssyntax. Still, this is a new option I hadn't thought about yet.