Why I think macro is necessary for programming language!

DRUNKEN ARTICLE CAUTION: the article might not make any sense!

Macro, that is the last resort for all programmers. Macro, it's a sweet temptation. Macro...

Well, if you are familiar with macros and doing job with Java (or any other languages don't have macro), you must be really frustrated like me. I was thinking why I've got so irritated without macros and got a conclusion.

I assume all programmers want to write clean, fast and maintainable code without any inconsistency. Suppose you are a Java programmer and need to write really similar code multiple times and all of the classes are not the same region. In this case, I would create an abstract class or utility class to put all common process in. However I think it's ugly because the abstract class is not the behaviour of the derived class and utility class is not object oriented. Then what is the cleanest and consist way to resolve it? Copy&Paste? I have yet no solution.

If I'm using C++ then I could use template for that situation. It allow me to write common process without creating super class and inject dependency. If I can use Lisp for this situation, this is, I think, the best situation to use macro to avoid code duplication or writing ugly code.

What makes macro so powerful? Well, after writing this I felt I'm so stupid to write such obvious question. If you have written any code, then you must know how powerful modifying source code before it's compiled is. You can feel you became a god or so (not really). So far, I only know the language which allows you to do such free things is only Lisp. It has macro, read macro, reflection, aspect oriented and so on. (Well, even though I listed some other stuff but I'll focus on only macro.) Which other language can make own *syntax* within its language specification?

I know it has also some crappy things like it doesn't allow me to do much things within the specification (Scheme), not so portable between implementations (CL, Scheme) and all. And I think each language needed to decide not to have all *nice to have* features. So everything is trade off but if that's so, I would rather go more comfortable one and to me comfortable means freedom. More precisely, the language which can extend itself if I needed.

Yes, as I expect there is no conclusion nor sense in this article. Don't write something in drunk.


grant rettke said...

What you wrote makes sense, I agree.

kei said...


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