[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Where is Emacs Lisp taught ?

From: Alan E. Davis
Subject: Re: Where is Emacs Lisp taught ?
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2018 00:04:52 -0700

First, I am not a programmer. I have a different perspective.  I see Elisp
as an integral component of Emacs---the Extensible Self Documenting
Editor.  That is the very core of it.  This is sets itself apart from any
other editor.  I will never be an expert at lisp, but I can extend Emacs
while refering to documentation of the editor and Elisp, all at my
fingertips.  It is a stroke of brilliance, just one of the  reasons I am
grateful for the work of Richard Stallman.

Emacs fell into my hands unexpectedly, just when I  seriously needed a tool
for my project developing a lexicon of animal names in a Pacific language
complex.  I was looking for an editor that I could make a simple macro to
type letters with diacritical marks.  Multi-Edit seems to me to work just
fine.  It was all I had, provided to me by a lingust.  The trial version
was "free", in dollars and cents terms; yet it was a form of cripple ware:
to get the full use of it would require a manual, which would cost 350.00,
an impossible sum for me.   Emacs came with an amazing manual.

I had seen the very name of the Free Software Foundation, and, not knowing
anything about it's purpose or cause, I wrote to request some free
software.  I lived on an isolated island, so it took some time before I
received a package with 13  3-1/2" disks, with a port of Emacs to Windows
3, called Demacs, and a suite of unix utilities ported to Windows 3 by
Cygnus, if I recall correctly.  This was in about 1992.  Unix tools were
perfect for my intended project of "digitizing" a growing body or data on
animal names.  Sort and string manipulation utilities were most welcome.

So I had a toolkit of unimaginable utility, perfectly suited to my need.
Elisp was part and parcel of it all.  I had some limited familiarity with
computers, so I was able to work my way though the documentation---all of
it included as part of Emacs, and available just when one needed it.  This
is another part of the brilliant scheme that is Emacs: the TexInfo
documentation could not be easier to use.

I haven't told this story often enough, but it is beside the point.  The
point is the Elisp is integrated with the editor, making it quite unique in
my experience.  It can be learned independently, absent any course, though
I admit I have struggled to learn the little that I have, and to do
complicated things I needed help.  I would think that a course in Elsip
would be extremely interesting.  First, one needs to find a young person
whose interests align well with the tool.

Enough said.  Too much.

Alan Davis

On Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 7:49 PM Garreau, Alexandre <>

> On 2018-10-28 at 10:16, Jean-Christophe Helary wrote:
> >> On Oct 28, 2018, at 9:27, Garreau, Alexandre <>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> On 2018-10-27 at 09:54, Jean-Christophe Helary wrote:
> >>> Gene,
> >>>
> >>> Thank you for this remark. I totally agree with you. elisp should be
> >>> considered a domain specific language and not be compared to general
> >>> purpose languages in general.
> >>
> >> emacs lisp *can* and *is* used as a general purpose language.
> >
> > If you consider Emacs as a virtual lisp machine, yes. If you consider
> > Emacs as a text editor, much less so.
> >
> > Teaching elisp as strictly a lisp dialect, removes it from its utility
> > as being Emacs extension language.
> I don’t consider emacs as a text editor but rather a shell, a UI, a
> environment, system.  And emacs-lisp is the main (currently only)
> language to program using this amazing UI, system, environment, shell,
> etc..
> Just as if you take lisp machine lisp, and remove the lisp machine, the
> kernel, all I/O, etc. you removes its utility as lisp machine extension
> language.

[Fill in the blanks]

The use of corrupt manipulations and blatant rhetorical ploys ...---
outright lying, flagwaving, personal attacks, setting up phony
alternatives, misdirection, jargon-mongering, evading key issues, feigning
disinterested objectivity, willful misunderstanding of other points of
view---suggests that ... lacks both credibility and evidence.

             ---- Edward Tufte (in context of making presentations)

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]