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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 08:31:38 -0800 (PST)

    > From: Joshua Haberman <address@hidden>

    >> Who said anything about "language prototyping"?

    > You called lisp a "conversation about programming language and
    > programming environment design."

Right but "language prototyping" suggests that lisp is where people go
to make proof-of-concept languages which they then plan either to drop
or to reimplement "for real" not using lisp.

Lisp _is_ sometimes used that way (as are many languages though lisp
does tend to make it easier than most).

However, "conversation about programming langauge and programming
environment design" doesn't imply "prototyping".  In lots of cases,
its people hacking the language as part of the process of making some
application or environment work better.

Some semi-well-known history surveys are:

     "History of Lisp" John McCarthy; 1979.

        which covers 1956 to about 1962

     "The Evolution of Lisp" Guy L. Steele Jr., Richard
     P. Gabriel; 1993.

       which covers 1960 to around 1993 and tells you where to buy
       the best (or at least most famous) french fries in Pittsburgh.

    > I have worked with Lisp some, and I've read both books and code.  I want
    > to arm myself with the right mindset so that I'll actually get something
    > from it the next time around.

I don't if I can help with that.   I hear good things about the
DrScheme environment for learning.   People fairly frequently get
advice and suggestions for learning by asking questions on
comp.lang.lisp (if you're interested in Common Lisp) or
comp.lang.scheme (if you're interested in Scheme).

This all came up in the context of the ITLA design.   So, another
approach might be to get your hands on an Emacs Lisp manual and
experiment by writing some Emacs extensions.   A lot of the design of
ITLA draws on ideas from the innards of Emacs.


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