Jeff Senn senn at maya.com
Thu Jun 5 12:24:12 CDT 2014

On Jun 5, 2014, at 12:41 PM, Hans Aberg <haberg-1 at telia.com> wrote:

> On 5 Jun 2014, at 17:46, Jeff Senn <senn at maya.com> wrote:
>> That is: are identifiers merely sequences of characters or intended to be comparable as “Unicode strings” (under some sort of compatibility rule)?
> In computer languages, identifiers are normally compared only for equality, as it reduces lookup time complexity.

Well in this case we are talking about parsing a source file and generating internal symbols, so the complexity of the comparison operation is a red herring.

The real question is how does the source identifier get mapped into a (compiled) symbol.  (e.g. in C++ this is not an obvious operation)

If your implication is that there should be no canonicalization (the string from the source is used as a sequence of characters only directly mapped to a symbol), then I predict sticky problems in the future.  The most obvious of which is that in some cases I will be able to change the semantics of the complied program by (accidentally) canonicalizing the source text (an operation, I will point out, that is invisible to the user in many (most?) Unicode aware editors).

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