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Radical Utilities for Common Lisp
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rutils.asd

README

REASONABLE-UTILITIES (RUTILS) is yet another general purpose utilities package for COMMON-LISP.

=== Rationale ===

The other utility packages in CL-land include: CL-UTILITIES, METATILITIES, ARNESI and ALEXANDRIA to name a few.  There are following motivations for creating another collection:

   1. Virtually everyone talks about utilities in CL (probably, due to Paul Graham's "On Lisp", that starts with a chapter on the importance of utilities).  But the existing utility packages are not enough visible and widespread either due to: not enough utility :), poor names, or lack of community involvement.  The best and, probably, quite usable package is, in my opinion, ALEXANDRIA, which has a great team of developers, but suffers from a shortcomming of the idea to be a "good citizen" in the CL world and not include code from other well-established, but specific utilities packages (SPLIT-SEQUENCE, ITERATE, ANAPHORA, ...) But the utility package should be as much all-around, all-encompasing as possible.  Because it should be used in most of the libraries, and library authors, for obvious reasons, don't like to add dependencies.  This is one of the causes of not enough spread of such very useful packages, as ITERATE: one or two usages of the ITER macro often don't justify the dependency on an additional package.  Yet, if all various utilities are collected under one roof, it should be a much more reasonable choice to depend on them.


   2. Yet the reverse of coin of all-encompassing utilities' package is bloat.  It is a common complaint about the CL standard, that it lacks modularity, and the utilities' package can as well suffer from the same problem.  But the solution to it is found and implementated using the CL package mechanism: every part of functionality (like list or hash-table handling) is segmented into it's own package.  Every package name is formed according to the following template: RUTILS.<functionality> (like: RUTILS.LIST, RUTILS.ITER).  So it's a 1 dependency (1 ASDF system) - multiple packages, that can be used on-demand, depending on the project's needs.  Besides, there are umbrella packages, that include most of the useful functionality, omiting only experimental stuff.  A style distinction of different naming conventions is also taken into consideration, so both long and short names are allowed to co-exist and be selected according to one's preferences.  So there are such umbrella packages as: RUTILS, which includes all the core functions, and RUTIL, which also includes shorter names.


   3. Support for growth of CL

Our aim is to include in this package as much of the work done in the previous periods and scattered over the Internet, as possible.  Those utilities are unified in this package and a lot of effort is put into better documenting them.

Besides we want to support some (or several) community process for developing the CL environment and incorporating into it new ideas, that are proved important and useful.

One of such processes is CDR (http://cdr.eurolisp.org) and we aim to provide an implementation of every CDR proposal, that targets "user-space" (i.e. does not require efforts on the implementation side).

All that will be first put into RUTILS-CONTRIB and moved to core after its presence is justified by user demand.


   4. What is included and excluded

Included
--------
 - 'Modern' readtable with supoort for literal syntax for hash-tables, lambdas and heredoc strings
 - Basic common contol utilities, like WITH-GENSYMS, ONCE-ONLY, EVAL-ALWAYS etc.
 - Anaphoric utilities
 - ITER macro with keywords support
 - Symbol manipulation utilities
 - List manipulation utilities
 - Sequence manipulation utilities (including SPLIT-SEQUENCE)
 - Hash-table manipulation utilities
 - String manipulation utilities
 - Tree manipulation utilities

Excluded
--------
* Support for concurrency.  The reason is not, that we consider this not useful or general-purpose enough, but rather, that it's a whole new paradigm, and the scope of RUTILS is too small to comfortably accomodate it.
Look at:
 - CL-STM
 - PCALL
 - PORTABLE-FUTURES
 - CL-MUPROC

* Functional features.  As in the above, it's as well a whole other paradigm.  It has a limited, but reasonable support in CL.  Other features should be unified in it's own package, and maybe RUTILS can serve as a model for such package or even accomodate it in the future.
Look at:
 - SERIES
 - CLAZY
 - CL-UNIFICATION

* Collections are as well a separate area in CS, so it requires a lot of effort to maintain and develop a comprehensive package in it.
Look at:
 - FSET
 - CL-CONTAINERS

* MOP.  MOP abstraction layer is a CDR and it is as well an essential part of CL.  It is implemented in CLOSER-MOP, and there are plans to integrate it in the future.


=== Additional notes ===

See LICENSE for usage permissions.
See AUTHORS for credits.

The following symbols are added to *FEATURES*:
 - :iter (by RUTILS.ITER, RUTILS, RUTIL)
 - :split-sequence (by RUTILS.SEQUENCE, RUTILS, RUTIL)
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