Sugar unrelated to macros -- Was: Re: Sugar

Dave Herman dherman at
Thu Aug 28 17:35:20 PDT 2008

> If you mean hygiene, that is not a practical problem so much as a 
> theoretical one. Dave knows a lot about this topic, so I'll defer to him.

No, hygiene is most certainly a practical problem! Hygiene is about 
preventing very subtle bugs that are intermittent and extremely hard to 
track down.

Meta-programming facilities don't have to be called macros to have 
problems with variable capture, and those who aren't familiar with 
macros tend to stumble over those bugs without realizing it. That's not 
meant as disparaging, it's just not a very widely understood area. So 
I'm very wary of meta-programming facilities that are proposed in an 
email. Language features are subtle and require lots of careful 
attention, and meta-programming facilities are *especially* so. That's 
why I was skeptical.

But I will have to try to read the proposal more carefully and see what 
I think.


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