On 30 September 2016 at 20:24, Alexander Burger <a...@software-lab.de> wrote:
> Hi Rowan,
> the explanation is simple.
> ...
> It is the *return* value of 'sort' which is relevant:
> ...

Ah, [facepalm], thanks. Because I hadn't used picolisp for a while,
when I first used (sort) again in a new context I saw the altered (but
not NIL) initial ("A") value before paying attention to the
return-value, and was so convinced that it must be the meaningful part
- and that (sort) must be "destructive and in-place" - that I never
even looked at sort's return-value (or noticed that the documentation
shows its return-values). Ironically picolisp code of mine from 2
years ago uses it correctly [sigh]. I suggest it might be more useful
for newcomers, for people-with-terrible-memory, and for
people-who-have-to-do-too-much-context-switching (like me) if the
first sentence at http://www.software-lab.de/doc/refS.html#sort
changed from:

> Sorts lst by destructively exchanging its elements.

to something more explicit like:

> Returns a sorted lst by destructively exchanging the original lst's elements.

I realise the examples implicitly show the "returns..." part of this,
but it is easy to get distracted from that by the initial "lst" being
transformed (but not NIL-ed) in such initially surprising ways. I
guess there may be other "destructive but not in-place" functions
whose documentation this suggestion could be relevant to as well. Of
course you might feel that is being too verbose in order to pander to
the n00bs and the forgetful though...

Rowan Thorpe
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