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The Craft of Emacs

Evaluation: S-expressions and special forms

1 hour

In this chapter, we took a deep dive into the inner workings of the interpreter. We saw how it reads Elisp and evaluates functions and special forms.

We learned some new terms, a new model and a different way looking at code. But each field of programming has new terms and models.

We also honed another more intangible skill: the skill of tinkering. We didn’t just memorize the model; we were curious about it. We asked questions, and used our key tools of the *scratch* buffer and M‑x describe‑function to poke and prod at the interpreter until we got answers. We tried to deduce its behaviour, and ran experiments to test those deductions.

The curiosity to tinker, the willingness to experiment, and the dream of creation, are far more valuable tools of the programming trade.

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