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Re: floating point and other comments

On Saturday 20 December 2003 07:05 pm, Per Bothner wrote:
> I think an "intermediate format" that doesn't support "~8,2F" is
> missing the boat.

Despite the name "intermediate", I consider the srfi-48 level of format to be  
basic support in any Scheme runtime.  Admittedly, I am biased toward small 
runtimes, including embedded implementations--Scheme in a doorknob with led 
display or in real-time robotics (e.g. BIT, Scheme48).

For runtime routines I like to see
  [1] no consing--bounded stack use, no heap allocation (if not output to a 
  [2] no assignment = no side effects
  [3] a small amount of code which carries its weight

[1] I will claim without proof that
	(display (number->string <num> <radix>) <port>)
can be replaced by a function 
	(display:number->string <num> <radix> <port>)
which does not allocate heap storage and uses a bounded, calculable stack 

[2] The reference implementation does no assignments

[3] The complied reference implementation is compact:
	mit-scheme  format.com    8864 bytes  -- bytecode
	gambit         format.so     16448 bytes -- cross-compiled to C

I have not done the work, but it I would guess that supporting ~w,dF would at 
least double the size of the reference implementation.  Looking at the ~F 
section in the CommonLisp Hyperspec, I likewise suspect that specifying the 
complex, rational, rounding, and error conditions would double the size of 

Given this amount of effort, I would add ~W for writing circular structures, 
~H for help (summary line, comment line, one line of text per option, staring 
with the option), and so forth.

I am reluctant to go down this path for (what I see as) such a basic service. 
E.g. for use in implementing ERROR.

So the crux of the issue is this.  Would acceptance of the current SRFI-48 be 
helpful to the community or not?  Is there enough benefit for the level of 

Alternately, is there enough benefit from ~F (et al) to mandate inclusion for 
a small runtime?

My bias is apparent.

What does the Scheme community think?