From Macros to DSLs: The Evolution of Racket

Ryan Culpepper, Matthias Felleisen, Matthew Flatt, Shriram Krishnamurthi

Summit on Advances in Programming Languages, 2019


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.



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