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[Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp

From: Joshua Haberman
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 17:38:16 -0800

On Sun, 2003-11-16 at 19:04, Tom Lord wrote:
> Not really.  There is a kind of lisp renaissance going on these days.

I have no desire to start a language war (honest!) but I would like to
understand what Lisp offers to the landscape of programming languages. 
I am someone who has done some basic work with Lisp but never really
"got it"; I never encountered a problem where Lisp felt like an asset,
it always felt awkward.  As I see it, Lisp has two distinguishing

- it is functional in nature.  however, doing most anything
non-mathematical requires procedural programming to some degree.

- it is expressed using a single syntax (s-expressions) that exactly
maps onto its basic data structure (recursive lists).

The second point makes it easy to blur the line between code and data,
as happens with macros.  It also makes me think of Lisp as the
anti-Perl: where Lisp has one syntax that all language features are
mapped onto, Perl has a special syntax for everything (sometimes even
two or three syntaxes for the same feature, as with quoting!)

In any case, my original question: what does Lisp offer that I should
look favorably on a Lisp renaissance?  I am someone who "gets"
mainstream languages (C, C++, Perl, Python, etc.) and object-orientation
as an abstraction and modularization mechanism.  (I am aware that Lisp
is capable of object-oriented programming).


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