Robert Goldman | 29 Jan 00:42 2008

Re: Comments about defreadtable

Luís Oliveira wrote:
> On 28/01/2008, Robert P. Goldman <rpgoldman <at>> wrote:
>>>   2. Readtables should be named by symbols, not strings, in order to
>>>      avoid collisions between different code bases. Also, I suggest
>>>      defreadtable should signal a warning (or a style-warning) if a CL
>>>      or KEYWORD symbol is used to name a readtable. Again, the goal is
>>>      to avoid collisions.
>> I don't actually agree with this point.  Tobias has tried here to make
>> readtables act like packages, and this change would destroy that
>> commonality.  It would also make the use of readtable specifiers in mode
>> lines problematic.
> I've heard that argument before. It makes perfect sense to follow the
> feel of defpackage because we're dealing with similar mechanisms. I
> think that using strings to designate readtables might be pushing the
> metaphor a bit too far, though. I think it's somewhat obvious why
> package names aren't symbols, the circularity makes my brain hurt; it
> doesn't apply to readtables.

Actually, I don't think it would be bad to have package names being
symbols --- that would apply a modularity and scoping that we sorely
lack in the package system.

Given that we lack this in the package system, we must come up with a
naming convention to overcome the lack.  Since we have to do this,
anyway, I'm inclined to suggest we just extend the same mechanism to
readtables, to keep the parallelism.

This is probably an aesthetic disagreement where neither of us will
convince the other.  I think that if we have to introduce
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