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From Macros to DSLs: The Evolution of Racket

Authors Ryan Culpepper, Matthias Felleisen, Matthew Flatt, Shriram Krishnamurthi



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Ryan Culpepper
  • PLT
Matthias Felleisen
  • PLT
Matthew Flatt
  • PLT
Shriram Krishnamurthi
  • PLT

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Michael Ballantyne, Eli Barzilay, Stephen Chang, Robby Findler, Alex Knauth, Alexis King, and Sam Tobin-Hochstadt for contributing at various stages to the evolution of Racket’s macro system and how it supports LOP. They also gratefully acknowledge the suggestions of the anonymous SNAPL '19 reviewers, Sam Caldwell, Will Clinger, Ben Greenman and Mitch Wand for improving the presentation.

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Ryan Culpepper, Matthias Felleisen, Matthew Flatt, and Shriram Krishnamurthi. From Macros to DSLs: The Evolution of Racket. In 3rd Summit on Advances in Programming Languages (SNAPL 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 136, pp. 5:1-5:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.SNAPL.2019.5

Abstract

The Racket language promotes a language-oriented style of programming. Developers create many domain-specific languages, write programs in them, and compose these programs via Racket code. This style of programming can work only if creating and composing little languages is simple and effective. While Racket’s Lisp heritage might suggest that macros suffice, its design team discovered significant shortcomings and had to improve them in many ways. This paper presents the evolution of Racket’s macro system, including a false start, and assesses its current state.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Semantics
Keywords
  • design principles
  • macros systems
  • domain-specific languages

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