This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 110 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 110 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 John Cowan writes: > John David Stone scripsit: > > > From the beginning, there was an obvious impediment to the use of > > sweet-expressions: Readers who are accustomed to alphabetic writing > > systems in which whitespace is almost invariably used as a word > > separator, a paragraph separator, a decorative typographical element, > > or for page layout simply don't respond psychologically to whitespace > > characters as they do to visible characters such as parentheses. > > Ifthatwerereallytruewedstillallbewritinginscriptiocontin > ualikethiswherelinesarebrokenanywhereatall. Well, it did take a considerable time (measured in generations) for the use of whitespace as a word separator to become standard. But there was an obvious motivating advantage in that case: separated-word texts are significantly less ambiguous. No such advantage accrues to sweet-expressions. > > Whitespace characters don't look like grouping symbols, as > > parentheses, brackets, braces, or oriented quotation marks do, because > > they don't have appropriate shapes and don't come in pairs. Moreover, > > they don't visibly nest, so it is unnatural to use them to represent > > recursively defined syntactic structures. > > Au contraire. It is so natural than even suits use nested indentation > to show hierarchy in their PowerPoints. Yes, and we see how well that works out when the hierarchies are as deeply nested as those in LISP-like languages are. The other common case of the use of indentation to indicate grouping is legislative bills, which I would hesitate to cite as exemplars of readability and homoiconicity. It's not a persuasive argument to say that Scheme programs could be made just as readable as Congressional legislation and the wordier kinds of PowerPoint slides. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux) Comment: Processed by Mailcrypt 3.5.9 <http://mailcrypt.sourceforge.net/> iEUEARECAAYFAlGeRKAACgkQbBGsCPR0ElQuQACgnggV4ukve4K3r0RFKN13ZVq5 w0YAl1jjyLJ8fVwF4RaeC/4sR3eXt0g= =k+C9 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----