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December 2001 (rev. May 2002) (This article came about in response to some questions on the LL1 mailing list.
In computing, s-expressions , sexprs or sexps (for "symbolic expression") are a notation for nested list ( tree -structured) data, invented for and popularized by the programming language Lisp , which uses them for source code as well as data.
Hi Eric, I have two comments:
Languages in which program code is represented as the language's fundamental data type are called 'homoiconic'.
In computer programming, homoiconicity is a property of some programming languages , in which the primary representation of programs is also a data structure in a primitive type of the language itself, from the Greek words homo meaning the same and icon meaning representation .
An evaluator that is written in the same language that it evaluates is said to be metacircular if and only if doing so short-circuits the need to specify the precise semantics, because the key language constructs are implemented by themselves, exactly like looking up a word in a dictionary and finding that the definition uses the original word. That's the "metacircular" part.
Previous discussions of HomoiconicLanguages got bogged down in definitions.