status: final (20020214)
keywords: Syntax
See also SRFI 156: Syntactic combiners for binary predicates.When programming in functional style, it is
frequently necessary to specialize some of the parameters of a
multiparameter procedure. For example, from the binary operation
cons
one might want to obtain the unary operation
(lambda (x) (cons 1 x))
. This specialization of parameters
is also known as "partial application", "operator section" or
"projection".
The mechanism proposed here allows to write this sort of specialization in a simple and compact way. The mechanism is best explained by a few examples:
(cut cons (+ a 1) <>)
 is the same as  (lambda (x2) (cons (+ a 1) x2))

(cut list 1 <> 3 <> 5)
 is the same as  (lambda (x2 x4) (list 1 x2 3 x4 5))

(cut list)
 is the same as  (lambda () (list))

(cut list 1 <> 3 <...>)
 is the same as  (lambda (x2 . xs) (apply list 1 x2 3 xs))

(cut <> a b)
 is the same as  (lambda (f) (f a b))

As you see, the macro cut
specializes some of the parameters of its first argument. The parameters
that are to show up as formal variables of the result are indicated by
the symbol <>
, pronouced as "slot". In addition, the
symbol <...>
, pronounced as "restslot", matches all
residual arguments of a variable argument procedure. As you can see from
the last example above, the first argument can also be a slot, as one
should expect in Scheme.
In addition to cut
, there is a
variant called cute
(a mnemonic for "cut
with
evaluated nonslots") which evaluates the nonslot expressions at the
time the procedure is specialized, not at the time the specialized
procedure is called. For example,
(cute cons (+ a 1) <>)
 is the same as  (let ((a1 (+ a 1))) (lambda (x2) (cons a1 x2)))

As you see from comparing this example with the
first example above, the cute
variant will evaluate (+
a 1)
once, while the cut
variant will evaluate it
during every invokation of the resulting procedure.
The mechanism proposed in this SRFI allows
specializing any subset of the variables of a procedure. The result can
be of fixed arity or of variable arity. The mechanism does not allow
permutation, omission, duplication or any other processing of the
arguments; for this it is necessary to write to use a different mechanism
such as lambda
.