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Re: "unspecified" and SET!
I've bitten my tongue on this, but I really can't see the point of
#!unspecified. Perhaps it would be nice in theory (especially if
(loop (1+ x))))
returned #!unspecified, which would then be equivalent to `bottom' in
the Scott-Strachey world), but it seems pointless.
One can argue, as somebody has, that the existing behaviour
distinguishes between expressions and commands; however, Scheme already
has a strong notion of side effects (unlike, say, Miranda), and
whether a side-effecting procedure yields (), #f, an unspecified
result, or #!unspecified really makes no difference to anybody, except
in one place, which I'll mention in a moment.
I regard `returns an unspecified result' as an injunction not to place
a call to a procedure in a value-returning position, e.g., the last
step in a lambda or begin. If I wrote a Scheme compiler, fascist that
I am, I would probably generate an error message for such a usage.
Going to the trouble to develop a calculus of unspecified values
strikes me as almost as silly as some of the things I did when I was
involved in writing an Algol 68 compiler.
The one place where #!unspecified makes some sense is in
Read-Eval-Print loops. One can use #!unspecified as a trigger that the
result is not to be printed. But then one does not need to change the
language: PC Scheme, for example, has *the-non-printing-object*.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
____________ Vincent Manis | firstname.lastname@example.org
___ \ _____ The Invisible City of Kitezh | email@example.com
____ \ ____ Department of Computer Science | firstname.lastname@example.org
___ /\ ___ University of British Columbia | uunet!ubc-cs!manis
__ / \ __ Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1W5 | (604) 228-2394
_ / __ \ _ "Theoretical computer science helps me convince people that
____________ my indecisiveness is really Nondeterminism, which sounds like
a much more positive characteristic." -- a student