| ||Ask HN: Are macros still an enormous edge in the power of a language?|
35 points by revenant on June 6, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 52 comments |
|I use Lisp (Clojure) a lot and like it, but it seems like macros, except in specialized cases, aren't quite the game changer they used to be. They're much tougher to reason about than functions, can't be passed around as parameters, and can lead to "magic" DSLs that only their owners understand. Obviously they are sometimes very useful, and the built-in macros (e.g. cond, if-let) are essential, but I don't see them as such a game-changer in modern programming. I feel like over 90% of the edge Lisp has over Blub comes from its functional support, with less than 10% coming from macros. This makes the edge small enough that, in many circumstances, I can see languages like ML and Haskell winning; good static typing (e.g. ML, not Java) becomes a benefit on large projects.|
I could be convinced that I am wrong and just don't "get" macros yet, but it seems like much of what's shown off in On Lisp et al is available nowadays in non-macro languages. I'd like to see modern uses for macros that aren't easy to implement in macroless languages.
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