Why Lisp Syntax Works

Lisp’s expressive power is tied to its uniform syntax, which allows macros to apply everywhere, making it easy to define macros that operate on expressions, statements, declarations, and even lexically scoped ones. Lisp syntax is highly uniform and does not lend itself to syntax bikeshedding, unlike SQL, which has a highly specific syntax that is difficult to compose. Most languages have syntax somewhere in the middle, making it difficult to define macros without typed AST-manipulation code, which is an inefficient approach. While Common Lisp may be the gold standard for macro development, its image-based development model is a feature that is undesirable in many contexts.


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