Lisp macros 3

Power

Macros are one of the things that make Lisp so extensible, because they let you transform arbitrary code into other arbitrary code. This is true for macros in languages like C too, but Common Lisp macros are different because they’re part of the language.

In C you have a layer of macros on top, written in a preprocessor macro language. The macro layer and the language layer are separate from each other, with the macro layer providing one one extra level of abstractive power (which, don’t get me wrong, is certainly useful).

In Common Lisp, you write macros in Common Lisp itself. You can then use those macros to write functions, and use those functions to write more macros. Instead of two stratified layers it’s a feedback loop of abstractive power.

— A Road to Common Lisp

— Steve Losh

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2022.05.22 Sunday ACHK