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prog, prog* (Macro)

— Macro: prog ({var | (var [init-form])}*) {declaration}* {tag | statement}* {result}*
— Macro: prog* ({var | (var [init-form])}*) {declaration}* {tag | statement}* {result}*
Arguments and Values:

var—variable name.

init-form—a form.

declaration—a declare expression; not evaluated.

tag—a go tag; not evaluated.

statement—a compound form; evaluated as described below.

resultsnil if a normal return occurs, or else, if an explicit return occurs, the values that were transferred.


Three distinct operations are performed by prog and prog*: they bind local variables, they permit use of the return statement, and they permit use of the go statement. A typical prog looks like this:

 (prog (var1 var2 (var3 init-form-3) var4 (var5 init-form-5))

For prog, init-forms are evaluated first, in the order in which they are supplied. The vars are then bound to the corresponding values in parallel. If no init-form is supplied for a given var, that var is bound to nil.

The body of prog is executed as if it were a tagbody form; the go statement can be used to transfer control to a tag. Tags label statements.

prog implicitly establishes a block named nil around the entire prog form, so that return can be used at any time to exit from the prog form.

The difference between prog* and prog is that in prog* the binding and initialization of the vars is done sequentially, so that the init-form for each one can use the values of previous ones.

(prog* ((y z) (x (car y)))
       (return x))

returns the car of the value of z.

 (setq a 1)  1
 (prog ((a 2) (b a)) (return (if (= a b) '= '/=)))  /=
 (prog* ((a 2) (b a)) (return (if (= a b) '= '/=)))  =
 (prog () 'no-return-value)  NIL
 (defun king-of-confusion (w)
   "Take a cons of two lists and make a list of conses.
    Think of this function as being like a zipper."
   (prog (x y z)          ;Initialize x, y, z to NIL
        (setq y (car w) z (cdr w))
        (cond ((null y) (return x))
              ((null z) (go err)))
        (setq x (cons (cons (car y) (car z)) x))
        (setq y (cdr y) z (cdr z))
        (go loop)
        (cerror "Will self-pair extraneous items"
                "Mismatch - gleep!  ~S" y)
        (setq z y)
        (go rejoin)))  KING-OF-CONFUSION

This can be accomplished more perspicuously as follows:

 (defun prince-of-clarity (w)
   "Take a cons of two lists and make a list of conses.
    Think of this function as being like a zipper."
   (do ((y (car w) (cdr y))
        (z (cdr w) (cdr z))
        (x '() (cons (cons (car y) (car z)) x)))
       ((null y) x)
     (when (null z)
       (cerror "Will self-pair extraneous items"
              "Mismatch - gleep!  ~S" y)
       (setq z y))))  PRINCE-OF-CLARITY
See Also:

block, let, tagbody, go, return, Section 3.1 (Evaluation)


prog can be explained in terms of block, let, and tagbody as follows:

 (prog variable-list declaration . body)
    ≡ (block nil (let variable-list declaration (tagbody . body)))