status: final (2016-09-06)See also SRFI 118: Simple adjustable-size strings, SRFI 130: Cursor-based string library, SRFI 140: Immutable Strings, and SRFI 152: String Library (reduced).
In Scheme, strings are a mutable data type.
Although it "is an error" (R5RS and
R7RS) to use
string-set! on literal strings or on strings returned by
symbol->string, and any attempt to do so "should raise an
exception" (R6RS), all
other strings are mutable.
Although many mutable strings are never
actually mutated, the mere possibility of mutation complicates
specifications of libraries that use strings, encourages precautionary
copying of strings, and precludes structure sharing that could otherwise
be used to make procedures such as
string-append faster and more space-efficient.
This SRFI specifies a new data type
of immutable texts. It comes with efficient and portable sample
implementations that guarantee O(1) indexing for both sequential and
random access, even in systems whose
takes linear time.
The operations of this new data type include analogues for all of the non-mutating operations on strings specified by the R7RS and most of those specified by SRFI 130, but the immutability of texts and uniformity of character-based indexing simplify the specification of those operations while avoiding several inefficiencies associated with the mutability of Scheme's strings.