SL--Dependency Language

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SL is a Domain Specific Language (ie. simple programming language) for dealing with ambiguous dependency situations. It is more expressive than the standard method in Common Lisp: the use of reader macros.


The only external macro is defsl. There is BNF below, though some examples are in order.


This defines operator-arglist (in the current package) as slynk:operator-arglist, unless slynk is unavailable, in which case swank:operator-arglist is used.

(defsl operator-arglist :fn :eq slynk swank)

The :fn shows that a FUNCTION is being defined, as opposed to a :sym symbol; to define another namespace a list is required: (accessor-fn boundp-fn). :eq denotes that the packages have the same name for this function. For this simplest of examples, consider the reader macro alternative.

#+(and slynk swank) (setf (symbol-function 'operator-arglist)
#+(and slynk (not swank)) (setf (symbol-function 'operator-arglist)
#+(and (not slynk) swank) (setf (symbol-function 'operator-arglist)

Complex example

(defsl gensymmer (macro-function macro-function)
    utils with-unique-names
    alexandria with-gensyms)

To break this down:

  • gensymmer is now defined as utils:with-unique-names.
  • macro-function was used twice: once as a setfable place, and once as a


  • If the utils package does not exist, then sl::gensymmer is defined as alexanrdia:with-gensyms.
  • to define different names for each package, they must be "qualified" with the package name.


Use ASDF to install. Usually this should work:

$ cd ~/common-lisp/
$ git clone
CL-USER> (asdf:load-system :sl)


(defsl <sl-name> <fnsym>  <package spec>)
<package spec> ::= <eq>
               | <packages>
<eq> ::= :eq <preferences>
<fnsym> ::= :fn
        | :sym
        | <fnpair>

<fnpair> ::= (setfable-place bound-predicate)
<packages> ::= <package> <fn name> <more packages>
<package> ::= symbol
<fn name> ::= symbol
<preferences> ::= <package> <more packages>
<more packages> ::= ε
                | <package>
                | <package> <more packages>


  • This is a new thing.
  • defsl is quite possibly the world's most unhygenic macro: don't expect anything about evaluation order or number of evaluations to be true.
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