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3 points by rocketnia 3215 days ago | link | parent

For what it's worth, I practically never add numbers. I actually use subtraction much more than addition! So I don't mind whatever these operations are named--and I mind the speed even less, actually--but I can testify that this change would sorta hinder my own code at this point. :-p

You've almost certainly encountered this comment above the definition of 'join, but I'll paste it here just in case it elucidates anything:

  ; Rtm prefers to overload + to do this

3 points by garply 3215 days ago | link

I make heavy use of + for concatenation throughout my code. I prefer it for a few reasons:

1. I find myself concatenating lists frequently and I prefer that frequently used functions be short. join has 4 chars to +'s 1

2. I also find ++ convenient for modifying a list variable. What would you use for the equivalent for join? In Racket's style, it would be join!, but I don't see a good analogue in arc for your proposal.

3. I'm constantly doing string concatenation. + is good for that because it's a short function name and also because I expect it to work because it works like that in many popular high-level languages (python, ruby, javascript). I also don't like to use arc's "@" for string-escaping because I find thinking about whether or not I have to escape the "@" character is distracting.


3 points by waterhouse 3212 days ago | link

With regard to (2), to destructively append the list '(1 2 3) to xs, you can:

  (zap join xs '(1 2 3))
"zap join" is several characters longer than ++, but zap has general utility.

I use the string function to concatenate strings. It seems to work identically to +, as long as the first argument is a string. I do give heterogeneous arguments to string usually, and I like seeing that they will clearly be coerced into a string.

I have a couple of ideas.

1. It would be little problem for me if Arc provided + as is and provided a "plus" function that worked only on numbers and allowed me to simply go (= + plus) and proceed normally. Unfortunately, that would break all the functions in arc.arc and so forth that use + to concatenate lists (which includes, among other things, the setforms function, which is used in expand=). It would be really nice if one could "freeze" the variable references in those functions, so that changing the global value of + wouldn't change what "+" in the bodies of those functions referred to.

2. If you use concatenation so much, perhaps we could allocate an ssyntax character for concatenation. & is currently used for andf (experiment with ssexpand to see). We could boot out that usage, or perhaps have "&&" become andf. Good/bad idea? (Precedent: my memory tells me the TI-89 uses & for string concatenation.)


1 point by garply 3212 days ago | link

Regarding your second suggestion, we could also use . instead of &, as that's what Perl and PHP do - feels a little more natural to me. But . might cause me a little mental friction in differentiating between the different uses of . in (. "a" "b") and (do (= a '(1 2)) a.0).

To be honest, I'm still not crazy about the idea simply because I don't need the speed boost and + doesn't seem to cause me to use extra mental cycles when reading my code. I'd be open to it though if the community really wanted it that way.

We could vote and also ask PG what he thinks and then make a decision.


1 point by prestonbriggs 3212 days ago | link

I wouldn't do anything for a speed boost at this stage. Premature optimization and all that.



2 points by fallintothis 3215 days ago | link

String concatenation is particularly convenient after the + change for arc3.tar: That's probably what I use + for most of the time.

I find thinking about whether or not I have to escape the "@" character is distracting

I find this is easier with proper syntax highlighting. My arc.vim ftplugin can detect if you have (declare 'atstrings t) and, if so, highlights the escaped parts of strings. That way, you know if @ is escaped just by glancing. But I don't mean to shamelessly plug, haha. I don't use atstrings either, but my reason is far lazier: in the middle of writing code, it's less effort to just use + than it is to declare then go back and start using @s.


2 points by garply 3214 days ago | link

What other goodies does your arc.vim plugin have? Is your editor at all integrated with the arc repl? Lack of a repl that I could easily send arc code to was the reason I switched to emacs after years of using vim. These days, using emacs with viper (vim emulation mode), I don't miss vim at all.


2 points by fallintothis 3206 days ago | link

Sorry, I'm not going to be the one to write SLIME for Vim. :P I'm afraid the only "goodies" I have are highlighting-related. Off the top of my head:

- It can detect macros that take rest parameters named body, then highlight and indent them correctly.

- It uses R5RS's grammar & mz-specific extensions to highlight numbers correctly -- even weird ones, like

- It notices paren errors involving [], like

  [(+ a b])
- It highlights escape sequences in strings, like

  "\x61b \t c\u0064\n"
- It does its best to highlight ssyntax characters so they're easy to read.

You can check out more at or It hasn't changed much since I first submitted it, though I've noticed it fails to highlight 0-argument function names like queue and new-fnid. Been meaning to fix that for awhile.