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Issue: DRIBBLE-TECHNIQUE (Version 1)

References:   DRIBBLE (p443)
Edit history: 06-Dec-87, Version 1 by Pitman
Status:	      For Internal Discussion

Problem Description:

  The intent and effect of DRIBBLE is not very clearly specified.


  Clarify that DRIBBLE is intended primarily for interactive debugging
  and that its effect cannot be relied upon from programs.

Test Case:

 #1: (PROGN (DRIBBLE "temp")
	    (PRINT 'FOO)

 #2: (DRIBBLE "temp")
	    (PRINC 'BAR))	 


  Users of DRIBBLE have been surprised about how differently DRIBBLE
  behaves in different implementations. This makes the status quo
  much more explicit and will lead to less surprise.

Current Practice:

  Some implementations implement DRIBBLE as a function which simply
  assigns streams such as *STANDARD-OUTPUT* to broadcast streams
  (or the approximate equivalent thereof).  Even within this camp,
  there is not widespread agreement about which streams are affected.
  However, typically test case #1 will capture the output of (PRINT 'FOO)
  in the file "temp" and will execute (PRINT 'BAR) but not capture its

  Some implementations (eg, Symbolics) push to a recursive command
  loop when DRIBBLE is called with an argument, and return from that
  command loop when DRIBBLE is called with no argument. In these
  implementations, test case #1 will enter a recursive command loop
  upon the first call to DRIBBLE and will not execute the (PRINT 'FOO)
  until (DRIBBLE) is done interactively. When the second (DRIBBLE)
  in test case #1 is executed, DRIBBLE will complain that output is
  not currently being recorded. In test case #2, the output of 
  (PRINT 'FOO) will be captured, but the form (PRINT 'BAR) will never
  be executed because (DRIBBLE) does not return normally (it throws).

Adoption Cost:

  None. This is just a clarification.


  Users will be aware that they cannot rely on DRIBBLE in portable code.

Conversion Cost:

  Effectively none.  Anyone who currently uses DRIBBLE in code that is
  believed to be portable is kidding himself. If such code works in some
  implementations, it can continue to work.


  Since this is a clarification, there is no significant change to
  the aesthetics.


  Pitman wrote this proposal as a straw man so that CL-Cleanup would have
  the issue on the books for explicit discussion.