PP: A LISP Pretty Printing System

Unknown author (1984-12-01)

The PP system provides an efficient implementation of the Common Lisp pretty printing function PPRINT. In addition, PP goes beyond ordinary pretty printers by providing mechanisms which allow the user to control the exact form of pretty printed output. This is done by extending LISP in two ways. First, several new FORMAT directives are provided which support dynamic decisions about the placement of newlines based on the line width available for output. Second, the concept of print-self methods is extended so that it can be applied to lists as well as to objects which can receive messages. Together, these extensions support pretty printing of both programs and data structures. The PP system also modifies the way that the Lisp printer handles the abbreviation of output. The traditional mechanisms for abbreviating lists based on nesting depth and length are extended so that they automatically apply to every kind of structure without the user having to take any explicit action when writing print-self methods. A new abbreviation mechanism introduced which can be used to limit the total number of lines printed.