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Status: Proposal FIRST passed, Nov 89 X3J13

Forum: Cleanup


References: CLtL p. 145-146, 63



Edit History: V1, 24 Oct 1989, Sandra Loosemore

V3, 02 Nov 1989, Sandra Loosemore (comments from Moon)

Problem Description:

Issue DEFMACRO-LAMBDA-LIST states that &ENVIRONMENT can appear once

anywhere at top level of a macro lambda list, but doesn't say anything

about the order in which the &ENVIRONMENT variable is bound relative

to the other lambda-list variables.

Some implementations treat &ENVIRONMENT as a mechanism for naming the

second argument to the macro function, in which case it is bound

before any of the variables in the actual destructuring pattern.

Other implementations bind it with the other lambda parameters in the

usual left-to-right order.

The binding order of &WHOLE parameters is not an issue. This is

because a &WHOLE parameter must appear first in the lambda list, so

there is no difference between binding it first or binding it

left-to-right. The relative binding order of &WHOLE and &ENVIRONMENT

parameters is not an issue because neither one can include init forms

where the binding of the other might be visible.

There are two proposals, FIRST and LEFT-TO-RIGHT.


Clarify that the &ENVIRONMENT parameter is bound along with &WHOLE

before any of other variables in the lambda list, regardless of where

&ENVIRONMENT appears in the lambda list.


This proposal provides a convenient explanation for the special

treatment of &WHOLE and &ENVIRONMENT at top-level in a DEFMACRO-style

lambda list. Basically, these two parameters are stripped out and

used to name the two arguments to the macro function, then the binding

of the remaining arguments is handled exactly the same as at

non-top-level or in a DESTRUCTURING-BIND. It is also very

straightforward to implement this model (as opposed to having

special parsing code for destructuring top-level DEFMACRO lambda



Clarify that the all lambda variables in a DEFMACRO-style lambda list

are bound left-to-right, including the &WHOLE and &ENVIRONMENT parameters.


This is more consistent with the order in which variables in ordinary

lambda lists are bound.

Current Practice:

Lucid CL, Utah CL, and KCL implement proposal FIRST. CMU CL

implements proposal LEFT-TO-RIGHT.

Symbolics Genera implements proposal FIRST. Specifically, &WHOLE is

bound first, followed by &ENVIRONMENT, then the destructuring

variables in the order listed.

Cost to implementors:

The changes are probably localized but potentially hairy. It is

possible that in some implementations it might be easier to completely

replace the code which handles lambda-list parsing and destructuring

than to try to patch it. Proposal FIRST is probably easier to

implement initially but the cost of converting an existing

implementation is probably about the same for both proposals.

Cost to users:

There are probably few user programs that would be affected by a

change in the binding order of &ENVIRONMENT parameters.


The language specification is made more precise.


Moon says:

I believe LEFT-TO-RIGHT is more clean, but I don't have strong feelings.

I am equally in favor of either of the two presented proposals or an


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