Complaining about defsystem

Xach wrote a tool to create boilerplate for ASDF projects. I winced to read this. It may be useful, sure, but it hurts to see “little projects” require three files and an ASDF registration.

I've never had the good fortune to work on a Common Lisp program large enough to need defsystem, and most other languages get by without it, so to me all this complexity looks not only unfamiliar but unnecessary. As a result, when I think about module systems and library loading and such, I tend to dismiss most of the potential features as esoteric. Separate compilation, compile-time circular dependencies, multiple versions, replaceable implementations, parameterised modules, analyzing dependencies without loading — these all seem less important than the mundane convenience of being able to write a library in a single file.

I suppose it's better to focus on problems I actually have than on ones I've only heard about. But I wonder which of the problems I'm ignoring are actually important.

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