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Book Review    Page 44 left arrow
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LISP Pointers
Volume I, Number 1
April-May 1987

page 45

Common Lisp community people discuss technical issues over the ARPA net, but how are these brought into the X3J13 committee and resolved so that they are reflected in the standard? How will proposals by prepared so they can be circulated and displayed on a variety of computer screens and also show the formatting and fonts of the final standard? Who will actually write things and who will manage the document?

What will be the scope of the eventual proposed standard? Will it be basically what is in the Steele book now or will it include some additional features? The ISO standard will probably be defined in terms of levels. Will these levels be appropriate for subset implementations? How closely will they correspond to the kind of options implementors need for different classes of machines? Will the levels match the way more complex features are introduced in teaching or in use?

For all of the above questions there are partial answers (some people might say complete answers, but a complete answer also involves convincing others). X3J13 has begun addressing them. X3J13 has had and will have on its agenda: l) detailed issues and "corrections" to the Steele book, 2) Common Lisp object system proposals, 3) reexamination of the function/value cell decision, 4) error systems needs and proposals, 5) conformance testing and validation, 6) levels and subsets within Common Lisp, 7) the relationship of Scheme and Common Lisp, and other topics (window systems, graphics, extended character sets, numerics, linkage to other languages and cross language standards, and so on).

Next time, I will begin reviewing some of the X3JI3 discussions on these topics and giving an indication of their status. People are welcome to contact me directly for more information or to contribute to the X3J13 discussions.

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