In 1998, Sussman and Steele remarked that the minimalism of Scheme was not a conscious design goal, but rather the unintended outcome of the design process. "We were actually trying to build something complicated and discovered, serendipitously, that we had accidentally designed something that met all our goals but was much simpler than we had intended....we realized that the lambda calculus—a small, simple formalism—could serve as the core of a powerful and expressive programming language."[8]

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Scheme has an iteration construct, do, but it is more idiomatic in Scheme to use tail recursion to express iteration. Standard-conforming Scheme implementations are required to optimize tail calls so as to support an unbounded number of active tail calls (R5RS sec. 3.5)[4]—a property the Scheme report describes as proper tail recursion—making it safe for Scheme programmers to write iterative algorithms using recursive structures, which are sometimes more intuitive. Tail recursive procedures and the named let form provide support for iteration using tail recursion.

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Scheme's input and output is based on the port datatype. (R5RS sec 6.6)[4] R5RS defines two default ports, accessible with the procedures current-input-port and current-output-port, which correspond to the Unix notions of standard input and standard output. Most implementations also provide current-error-port. Redirection of input and standard output is supported in the standard, by standard procedures such as with-input-from-file and with-output-to-file. Most implementations provide string ports with similar redirection capabilities, enabling many normal input-output operations to be performed on string buffers instead of files, using procedures described in SRFI 6.[30] The R6RS standard specifies much more sophisticated and capable port procedures and many new types of port.

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In the R5RS standard, Scheme implementations are not required to implement the whole numerical tower, but they must implement "a coherent subset consistent with both the purposes of the implementation and the spirit of the Scheme language" (R5RS sec. 6.2.3).[4] The new R6RS standard does require implementation of the whole tower, and "exact integer objects and exact rational number objects of practically unlimited size and precision, and to implement certain procedures...so they always return exact results when given exact arguments" (R6RS sec. 3.4, sec. 11.7.1).[5]

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Alonzo Church's mathematical notation, the lambda calculus, has inspired Lisp's use of "lambda" as a keyword for introducing a procedure, as well as influencing the development of functional programming techniques involving the use of higher-order functions in Lisp. But early Lisps were not suitable expressions of the lambda calculus because of their treatment of free variables.[8]

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A formal lambda system has axioms and a complete calculation rule. It is helpful for the analysis using mathematical logic and tools. In this system, calculation can be seen as a directional deduction. The syntax of lambda calculus follows the recursive expressions from x, y, z, ...,parentheses, spaces, the period and the symbol λ.[21] The function of lambda calculation includes: First, serve as a starting point of powerful mathematical logic. Second, it can reduce the requirement of programmers to consider the implementation details, because it can use for imitate machine evaluation. Finally, the lambda calculation created a substantial meta-theory.[22]

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The reliance on lists as data structures is shared by all Lisp dialects. Scheme inherits a rich set of list-processing primitives such as cons, car and cdr from its Lisp progenitors. Scheme uses strictly but dynamically typed variables and supports first class procedures. Thus, procedures can be assigned as values to variables or passed as arguments to procedures.

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The reliance on lists as data structures is shared by all Lisp dialects. Scheme inherits a rich set of list-processing primitives such as cons, car and cdr from its Lisp progenitors. Scheme uses strictly but dynamically typed variables and supports first class procedures. Thus, procedures can be assigned as values to variables or passed as arguments to procedures.

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In 1998, Sussman and Steele remarked that the minimalism of Scheme was not a conscious design goal, but rather the unintended outcome of the design process. "We were actually trying to build something complicated and discovered, serendipitously, that we had accidentally designed something that met all our goals but was much simpler than we had intended....we realized that the lambda calculus—a small, simple formalism—could serve as the core of a powerful and expressive programming language."[8]

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Unexpected popularity can be a nice problem to have. But when you designed a budget to make 100 of something, it’s tricky to suddenly have 10,000 pledges! If you feel like you’ve hit your limit, you can always cap your rewards. You can also stagger release dates — cap the original reward at a number you can handle, then add more with a later delivery date, so you don’t have to do everything at once. Let backers know in advance that the demand might affect your schedule.

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Guile has been adopted by GNU project as its official scripting language, and that implementation of Scheme is embedded in such applications as GNU LilyPond and GnuCash as a scripting language for extensions. Likewise, Guile used to be the scripting language for the desktop environment GNOME,[51] and GNOME still has a project that provides Guile bindings to its library stack.[52] There is a project to incorporate Guile into GNU Emacs, GNU's flagship program, replacing the current Emacs Lisp interpreter.[citation needed]

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Up to the R5RS standard, the standard comment in Scheme was a semicolon, which makes the rest of the line invisible to Scheme. Numerous implementations have supported alternative conventions permitting comments to extend for more than a single line, and the R6RS standard permits two of them: an entire s-expression may be turned into a comment (or "commented out") by preceding it with #; (introduced in SRFI 62[29]) and a multiline comment or "block comment" may be produced by surrounding text with #| and |#.

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Prior to R5RS, Scheme had no standard equivalent of the eval procedure which is ubiquitous in other Lisps, although the first Lambda Paper had described evaluate as "similar to the LISP function EVAL"[19] and the first Revised Report in 1978 replaced this with enclose, which took two arguments. The second, third and fourth revised reports omitted any equivalent of eval.

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Scheme's input and output is based on the port datatype. (R5RS sec 6.6)[4] R5RS defines two default ports, accessible with the procedures current-input-port and current-output-port, which correspond to the Unix notions of standard input and standard output. Most implementations also provide current-error-port. Redirection of input and standard output is supported in the standard, by standard procedures such as with-input-from-file and with-output-to-file. Most implementations provide string ports with similar redirection capabilities, enabling many normal input-output operations to be performed on string buffers instead of files, using procedures described in SRFI 6.[30] The R6RS standard specifies much more sophisticated and capable port procedures and many new types of port. 

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^ Joel Moses (June 1970), The Function of FUNCTION in LISP, or Why the FUNARG Problem Should Be Called the Environment Problem, hdl:1721.1/5854, AI Memo 199, A useful metaphor for the difference between FUNCTION and QUOTE in LISP is to think of QUOTE as a porous or an open covering of the function since free variables escape to the current environment. FUNCTION acts as a closed or nonporous covering (hence the term "closure" used by Landin). Thus we talk of "open" Lambda expressions (functions in LISP are usually Lambda expressions) and "closed" Lambda expressions. [...] My interest in the environment problem began while Landin, who had a deep understanding of the problem, visited MIT during 1966-67. I then realized the correspondence between the FUNARG lists which are the results of the evaluation of "closed" Lambda expressions in LISP and ISWIM's Lambda Closures.


^ Jump up to: a b 1178-1990 (Reaff 2008) IEEE Standard for the Scheme Programming Language. IEEE part number STDPD14209, unanimously reaffirmed at a meeting of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Standards Review Committee (RevCom), March 26, 2008 (item 6.3 on minutes), reaffirmation minutes accessed October 2009. NOTE: this document is only available for purchase from IEEE and is not available online at the time of writing (2009). 

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