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1 point by rocketnia 2880 days ago | link | parent

IMO, the cleanest way to handle nil is for it to be a separate type and for 'car and 'cdr to be generic (or at least ad-hoc generic), defined for the nil type as well as the cons type. This way, when extending a generic function, you don't have to put the empty list behavior and the symbol behavior in the same branch (which would make it harder for a programmer to extend a list function for symbols or vice versa).

Hmm, it sounds like that's what you had before waterhouse's input. :-p

In Lathe's generic/inheritance utilities (orc/orc.arc and orc/oiter.arc), I base the inheritance graph on a new type function, 'otype, mainly so that I can have a different type for nil. Because of the inheritance system, I also get to have a list type that both the nil type and the cons type inherit from, so that I can extend every list case in a single branch.

As for (coerce nil 'cons), I think that's the wrong API. It should shave some tokens to become listify.nil, and it shouldn't raise an error. Who really needs to coerce things into nonempty lists? ^_^

3 points by akkartik 2880 days ago | link

Hmm, it sounds like that's what you had before waterhouse's input. :-p

:) I think I still have that behavior. All I did was to fix coerce and 'nil. You can defgeneric without the acons check and defmethod on nil (or vice versa). It feels more 'pure', but I don't have any examples where it's a big win. It's _truly_ a win that you can simply replace def with defgeneric and get a superset of behavior without losing compatibility.