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Lazy programming is a general concept of delaying the processing of a function or request until the results are needed. This concept has numerous applications, from the obvious to the obscure. Thinking in terms of lazy programming can help you rid your code of unneeded computation and restructure programs to be more problem-oriented.

Simple lazy programming in Scheme

Lazy programming is a technique that lets you delay the evaluation of code until you need the resulting value. In Scheme, for example, lazy programming is explicitly supported through two special constructs. Scheme's delay special form takes a block of code and, rather than executing it, stores the code and its parameters as a promise. If you force the promise to produce a value, it will then run the code. The promise then saves the result, so that future requests for the value will be returned instantly without having to execute the code again.



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