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Student intern here. My boss recently asked me to replace several if-statements with preprocessor macros.
And apparently, he didn‘t joke.5
For all of youse that ever wanted to try out Common Lisp and do not know where to start (but are interested in getting some knowledge of Common Lisp) I recommend two things:
As an introductory tutorial:
And as your dev environment:
Notice that the dev environment in question is Emacs, regardless of how you might feel about it as a text editor, i can recommend just going through the portacle help that gives you some basic starting points regarding editing. Learn about splitting buffers, evaluating the code you are typing in order for it to appear in the Common Lisp REPL (this one comes with an environment known as SLIME which is very popular in the Lisp world) as well as saving and editing your files.
Portacle is self contained inside of one single directory, so if you by any chance already have an Emacs environment then do not worry, Portacle will not touch any of that. I will admit that as far as I am concerned, Emacs will probably be the biggest hurdle for most people not used to it.
Can I use VS Code? Yes, yes you can, but I am not familiar with setting up a VSCode dev environment for Emacs, or any other environment hat comes close to the live environment that emacs provides for this?
Why the fuck should I try Common Lisp or any Lisp for that matter? You do not have to, I happen to like it a lot and have built applications at work with a different dialect of Lisp known as Clojure which runs in the JVM, do I recommend it? Yeah I do, I love functional programming, Clojure is pretty pure on that (not haskell level imo though, but I am not using Haskell for anything other than academic purposes) and with clojure you get the entire repertoire of Java libraries at your disposal. Moving to Clojure was cake coming from Common Lisp.
Why Common Lisp then if you used Clojure in prod? Mostly historical reasons, I want to just let people know that ANSI Common Lisp has a lot of good things going for it, I selected Clojure since I already knew what I needed from the JVM, and parallelism and concurrency are baked into Clojure, which was a priority. While I could have done the same thing in Common Lisp, I wanted to turn in a deliverable as quickly as possible rather than building the entire thing by myself which would have taken longer (had one week)
Am I getting something out of learning Common Lisp? Depends on you, I am not bringing about the whole "it opens your mind" deal with Lisp dialects as most other people do inside of the community, although I did experience new perspectives as to what programming and a programming language could do, and had fun doing it, maybe you will as well.
Does Lisp stands for Lots of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses or Los in stupid parentheses? Yes, also for Lost of Insidious Silly Parentheses and Lisp is Perfect, use paredit (comes with Portacle) also, Lisp stands for Lisp Is Perfect. None of that List Processing bs, any other definition will do.
Are there any other books? Yes, the famous online text Practical Common Lisp can be easily read online for free, I would recommend the Lisperati tutorial first to get a feel for it since PCL demands more tedious study. There is also Common Lisp a gentle introduction. If you want to go the Clojure route try Clojure for the brave and true.
What about Scheme and the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs? Too academic for my taste, and if in Common Lisp you have to do a lot of things on your own, Scheme is a whole other beast. Simple and beautiful really, but I go for practical in terms of Lisp, thus I prefer Common Lisp.
how did you start with Lisp?
I need some inspiration man......show me something? Sure, look for a game called Kandria in youtube, the creator, Shimera (Nicolas Hafner) is an absolute genius in the world of Lisp and a true inspiration. He coded the game in Common Lisp, he is also the person behind portacle. If that were not enough, he might very well also be Shirakumo, another prominent member of the Common Lisp Community.
Ok, you got me, what is the first thing in common lisp that I should try after I install the portacle environment? go to the repl and evaluate this:
(+ 0.1 0.2)
Watch in awe at what you get.
In the truest and original sense of the phrase (MIT based) "happy hacking!"10
Have an object that uses a macro to define its function bodies. I needed to interface to that object in a different way. So I wrote and object that calls functions on that object and presents a different interface. I used macros to define the function bodies...