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Compiling CASE

From: Steve Bacher (C.S.Draper Lab)
The question of CASE compiling into a computed GOTO uncovers an
interesting dilemma.  Should the compiler have special knowledge
about certain forms which are normally macro calls, because it knows
that they can be compiled into particular machine-code sequences,
or should it always honor the macroexpansion?  Consider the case
(n.p.i.) where the user provides an alternate macro definition for
his/her own use (possibly because he/she doesn't remember that
there already is a CASE macro).
This could affect a whole class of "non-special-forms", i.e. things
like AND, OR, COND, PROG, which are supposed to be macros in CL but
are generally special forms in (older?) LISP implementations, and
recognized by the compiler in order to generate optimal code.  Or
should there be a class of "quasi-special-forms" which the compiler
may deal with on a basis similar to that of true "special forms"
so that the best code can get generated?  Should it be "an error" to
redefine such macros?
After all, the rationale here is to keep the number of true
"special forms" to a small finite number to enable portable
code walking (not "portable-code" walking), though I don't wish
to open up THAT can of worms again.  But if this means that the
compiler is constrained from doing clever things with AND, OR, or
CASE, is it worth it?
                                                    - SEB