In this chapter, we'll give a quick overview of some basic features of Scheme, enough to get started writing some programs.
This chapter moves fairly quickly, briefly introducing about half of the ideas in Scheme. In later chapters, we'll explain and demonstrate these features more fully, and introduce other advanced features.
This chapter is meant to be read concurrently with the first half of the next one, which includes a tutorial on using Scheme interactively. we've put in directives saying when you should work through parts of the next chapter. After becoming familiar with Scheme, you can use it as a basic reference; you can consult the next chapter for basic examples, and later chapters for advanced techniques.
If you're fluent in concepts of programming languages, and especially if you've programmed in Lisp, you may be able to breeze through this chapter to get a sense of what Scheme is about. If you're fluent in programming language concepts, you may be able to read straight through this section.
(NOTE TO MY CS345 and CS386l STUDENTS: don't try to breeze through this chapter. Do the tutorial hunks after each hunk of this chapter.---PRW)
If you intend to actually program in Scheme, you should definitely follow the directives and read parts of the next chapter, rather than trying to plow straight through this one.
To help you, we've divided the text of this chapter and the next into "hunks" that are mostly orthogonal to the normal structure of the chapters. Hunks A, C, E, etc are in this chapter and hunks B, D, F, etc are in the next chapter. If you're new to Scheme, you should probably read this book in hunk order, i.e., hunks A, B, C, etc.