The Tragedy of the Common Lisp, or, Why Large Languages Explode (was: revive let blocks)

Greg McLeod cleod9 at
Thu Jun 18 16:41:10 UTC 2015

Very well said Mark! You've basically articulated what I've been thinking
for a few years now as someone lurking amongst these lists afraid to speak
up. Often times I've seen people's questions or criticisms get shut down
with a link to lmgtfy often followed by an emoticon or two, which doesn't
make posting in these lists seem very inviting.

I really really love JS (it's so fun!), and while there are many features
in ES6 that I think are great (such as classes, modules, and import syntax)
there are things that quite frankly scare me quite a bit. Such examples
include destructuring and arrow functions, which make sense when used in
simple use cases but I find confusing to interpret when reading someone
else's code due to their terseness.

But you know what? I can live with ES6. I did enjoy, while it lasted, the
comfort in understanding 99% of JS due to its smallness. But I don't mind
learning a few more new concepts derived from other languages if it means I
can become better at both reading and writing code. But with ES6 pretty
much set in stone, ES7 will be the next round of discussions. So like you
said Mark, I think more of us (including myself) shouldn't be afraid to
share our panic. It's extremely easy to agree with someone on something,
but I think more often than not those who disagree likely hesitate in
contributing to the conversation.


On Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 12:22 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at> wrote:

> Good points, Mark.
> There are two better ways forward that I see:
> 1. Separate forms and make them compose well. Instead of let (x=y){z} and
> the grammatically unsound let (x=y)x*x from ES4, given let in ES6, and do
> expressions in ES7, declare victory and use `do { let x = y; z }`.
> 2. Sweet.js (, hygienic macros for JS, with
> syntax-case-strength matching and enforestation magic.
> We try to follow (1) in TC39. It is why we didn't rush the ?.
> "null-soaking" operator in. I suspect that (2) deserves a look in about a
> year, but welcome thoughts from Tim Disney et al (@natefaubion @jlongster).
> /be
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