[erlang-questions] Erlang and syntax.

Anthony Ramine <>
Sat Feb 22 12:43:42 CET 2014

Erlang is made to be boring. Boring means that it needs to be brain dead easy to comprehend. Brain dead easy means no macros. Given the premise of the absence of macros, why should the language use S-expressions and be homoiconic?

Why do you need to change the AST? That sounds like a constructed need from a bored developer looking for a problem. If you want better parse transforms, help me finish brackets for 19.0.


I don’t see how could you compare C++ and Java to Erlang, certainly not on the front of syntax. Erlang is a tiny language.

So to get back to the first question: because macros do not promote explicitness.


Anthony Ramine

Le 22 févr. 2014 à 10:14, Maxim Velesyuk <> a écrit :

> For a long time I wonder why erlang syntax is not based on s-expressions? Did Creators debate on it, if yes, why had prolog-like syntax won?
> Often when I feel I need to change ast I remember how clumsy and uncomfortable parse transform is, so I overcome myself and make workarounds.
> But macros are still useful, programmers use parse transform when they have no other choice, and projects like merl appear.
> List and zip comprehensions could be implemented as macros, ets and mnesia query language is actually prefix-notation language with code quoting, even pattern matching and so long expected maps could be just a libraries.
> Take a look at c++ and java, how they suffer from inventing new syntax. Hopefully Erlang will not turn in such syntax-monster. It has syntax for many things, but it still not as flexible as it could be.
> This forwards me back to my first question, why?
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