Syntax highlighter


R7RS ratification vote

The reason why this is English article is simply I don't know the proper translation of  'ratification vote' and felt it's awkward to write it in hiragana or katakana. Sorry, my bad :)

The ratification vote has been started. I'm not quite sure if I will vote or no and if I would, I would vote to 'yes' that's because Sagittarius has whole functionalities, not because I totally agreed with it.

Nobody expects 100% agreement, I believe, probably 70 to 80%. However mine is much lower than it. The reason is it's not stepping forwards but backwards. These are the stuff I think R7RS went backwards from R6RS.

[Low level macro]
A lot of *pure* Schemer think syntax-case is too huge to be in the specification. Actually I totally agree with it (well, that's because it was really hard to implement but as user's perspective it's really convenient). However, R6RS at least put low level hygiene macro in it. I think that's a big step forward. On the other hand, R7RS simply removed it without alternatives. I know it is hard to decide which low level hygiene macro should be in. And now we don't have any way to make R7RS macros compatible with R6RS macros except syntax-rules.

I'm following the discussion since 2011 (I guess) and probably missed why they dropped it without any alternatives. But I can guess the reason, low level hygiene macro is too big to put in RnRS so they probably thought let WG2 handle this. It might be a clever decision but since we already have it, then it is definitely not the best decision, that's because implementations don't have to implement all of libraries defined in WG2.

[Library syntax]
I agree R7RS library syntax much more flexible and convenient than R6RS one. However that simply made existing R6RS libraries not to be able to run in R7RS implementations. As far as I know, currently only 2 implementations are fully implemented with R7RS, Chibi Scheme and my Sagittarius (if you know other, please let me know. I want to try). And Chibi only supports R7RS library syntax means it can't use useful R6RS libraries (like industria or so, before you say 'is there such a library?' :P).

They were probably aiming to use R5RS codes on R7RS implementation easily, like SSAX or so. However, I'm doubting if it was a better way. I don't know why they needed to introduce the brand new  syntax instead of using the existing one. For me, it seems they simply didn't like R6RS or maybe try not to make any confusion.

[Reader macro]
As you already know, reading R6RS source code might not be possible on R7RS implementation because of the difference of bytevector lexical syntax. I totally have no idea why they changed this. I know it's different from SRFI-4 but SRFI is not a specification. Not all Scheme implementation has extensible reader macro like Common Lisp so this simply breaks capability even just reading S-expression file written by R6RS implementation. Honestly, this totally sucks!

I've been feeling that R7RS was for people who didn't agree with R6RS or even hate. I know that's not true. I believe the Scheme spirit is not dropping off the necessary functionalities nor reminiscing good old days. But why R7RS looks like this? Or maybe that's because I'm not a pure Schemer?

At least there are loads of good stuff, one of them is implementing R7RS Scheme would be much easier than implementing R6RS one. So there would be loads of Scheme implementations again :P

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