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Re: [Axiom-developer] Literated VMLISP.LISP.PAMPHLET

From: Ralf Hemmecke
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Literated VMLISP.LISP.PAMPHLET
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 18:41:53 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060909)

Hmmm, I am not sure I can support that approach. For two reasons.

1) Most probably the aliases come in the documentation without links
to the code they refer to. (Though that can be done.)
I'm not quite sure what exactly you're getting at.

Have you, for example ever used

@ %def foo

at the end of a code chunk? noweave can generated hyperlinks inside the code pieces from that...

2) You separate code that belongs together. Don't you think?
I suppose you mean that an alias definition should be next to the
definition of the function that it's an alias for? Like


(defun foo (...)

(define-function alias-for-foo #'foo)

That's what I thought at first, but then it occured to me that

1) Aliases in general aren't terribly useful. The only exception I can
   think of is the following. Suppose you have an operation acting on
   objects of type FOO, say COMPARE-FOOS. Now it happens that the
   definition of that function is

     (defun compare-foos (&rest foos)
       (apply #'equal foos))

   In this case it is acceptable to create COMPARE-FOOS, because it
   captures a different concept. This is also useful if you later
   change the implementation of objects of type FOO, and you can't
   just compare them with EQUAL. In that case you simply change the
   implementation of COMPARE-FOOS. If you'd use EQUAL directly, you'd
   have to check each and every EQUAL in your source to figure out
   wether it has to be adapted to the new implementation of FOOs.

   Other than that I don't see any justification for aliases.

I cannot say much about that. I am not a LISP programmer. :-(


Why would it make sense to list all the abbreviations on one section
(even without documenation)?
Because they're all obsolete. That section is a list of things to

Hmmm, in that case, the section would not be forever. So I am with you.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss - admittedly boring - details.
I don't think that it is "boring". I am sure that most of us have no
real experience what the best LP style in Axiom would be. Otherwise I
would have seen a "Conventions" page that explains how to write good
literate programs. It's not totally clear, at least not for me.
Not to me, either. When I read your first response to my VMLISP.LISP
conversion I actually thought about that. I was going to suggest that
you put up the example you gave (the Groebner basis fragment).

All I can put onto the net is already there. My experience of programming in LP style is at the ALLPROSE website. I am sure that I am not perfect, but the whole thing is a bit bigger than just dhmatrix.

And I am currently doing something here...

svn co svn:// combinat
cd combinat/combinat
make colored dvi

in a similar style. But all that is not LISP, but you might get an idea how I think Axiom should look like.


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