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I guess what you can say is that the 'text editor' (human readable)
will sectionalize the buffer in such a way so that a compile-region
is meaningfull only for the entire top-level-form, so that the question
of 'the environment editor' doesnt come up.
But lets face it, CL, as defined, is very compile-whole-file oriented.
It doesnt take into account very well the programming environment style
that has been in use with Emacs/LEDIT/MACLISP on the PDP-10 and the
Lispmachine for at least a decade. Constructs such as (in-package ...)
and (eval-when (compile) (setq *readtable* ...)) etc that cause the
most painful confusion to even our best attempts at making our program
editors deal with such thing are, in the final analysis, far too unconstrained
to be able to expect a uniform and well understood behavior.
It will be very difficult to come up with a workable model.
Greenblatt had some suggestions recently in private correspondence
that harken back to certain tricks that the famous MDL compiler "COMBAT"
used. Such analogies however do not add any comfort to the situation.