[erlang-questions] Erlang and syntax.

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Sat Feb 22 12:58:40 CET 2014

On 22 Feb 2014 12:43, "Anthony Ramine" <> wrote:
> Erlang is made to be boring. Boring means that it needs to be brain dead
easy to comprehend. Brain dead easy means no macros.

Sorry, but -define () macros can be just as confusing as lispy ones... I
would gladly trade them away.


> 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.
>         https://github.com/nox/otp/commit/brackets
> 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
> Regards,
> --
> 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
> >
> > 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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