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*To*: cl-cleanup@sail.stanford.edu*Subject*: Issue: FORMAT-E-EXPONENT-SIGN (Version 2)*From*: masinter.pa@Xerox.COM*Date*: 2 Oct 88 13:10 PDT

In addition to changing the issue name, I changed the Proposal wording so that it read as a change to Common Lisp rather than a change to CLtL. I think this is ready for release. NAK's only, please. ! Issue: FORMAT-E-EXPONENT-SIGN References: CLtL pp. 366, 393 Category: CLARIFICATION Edit history: Bob Cassels, 13 Sep 88 Masinter, 2-Oct-88 (change issue name) Related issues: <none> Problem description: The result of (format nil "~E" 1.0) is specified in a contradictory way. The ambiguity is whether a plus sign should be printed in front of the exponent. The top of page 393 says, "Next, either a plus or a minus sign is printed, followed by e digits ... [decimal exponent]" Later on page 393 we see, "If all of w, d, and e are omitted, then the effect is ... [like prin1]. Page 366 [presumably where prin1 is defined] doesn't explicitly say that the plus sign is omitted from the exponent, but all the examples (and usual practice) indicate that. So the posssibilities are: A. "1.0e+0" B. "1.0e0" The first reference implies that A is correct, the third reference implies that B is correct. The second reference implies that A and B are the same. Proposal (FORMAT-E-EXPONENT-SIGN:FORCE-SIGN): Specify that ~E always prints a plus or minus sign in front of the exponent. This would cause the language on page 393 of CLtL to to change: "If all of w, d, and e are omitted, then the effect is to print the value using ordinary free-format exponential-notation output; PRIN1 uses a similar format for any non-zero number whose magnitude is less than 10**-3 or greater than or equal to 10**7. The only difference is that the ~E directive always prints a plus or minus sign in front of the exponent, while PRIN1 omits the plus sign if the exponent is non-negative." Test Case: (format nil "~E" 1.0) => "1.0e+0" Rationale: This proposal makes ~E self-consistent. That is more important than making ~E consistent with PRIN1. Current practice: Symbolics Common Lisp, Ibuki Lisp, and VAX Lisp all print the plus sign as in the test case above. Apollo DOMAIN Common Lisp (version 2.10) and Xerox Common Lisp produce "1.0", which is wrong because it includes no exponent at all. Adoption Cost: Minimal changes to one printing routine for non-conforming implementations. (No change to the three implementations mentioned above.) Cost of non-adoption: Minor confusion and possible incompatibility among implementations. Benefits: Less confusion, more compatibility. Conversion Cost: Minimal. It is doubtful that any user programs depend on this obscure distinction. Esthetics: A matter of opinion. Discussion: Fortran ~E format requires a sign before the exponent, since the exponent mark character may be dropped. Since Common Lisp ~E always prints the exponent marker, the exponent sign may be dropped in the case that it would be a plus sign.

**Follow-Ups**:**Issue: FORMAT-E-EXPONENT-SIGN (Version 2)***From:*Kent M Pitman <KMP@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>

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