Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

24 September 2007

Learning Lisp

by nickadmin

One of those “personal/professional” development things that you should do every so often is try to learn something new in your field. For me, I’ve decided I will learn more about Lisp, and programs in general. To that end I’ve been working my way through the book The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs which is a dense volume that is chock full of good knowledge about how computer programs work from a critical and analytical point of view. The language the book uses is Scheme which is a variant of Lisp. Having worked with XEmacs and its version of lisp (called appropriately elisp), I thought I would be able to pick up Scheme pretty quickly. This is pretty much true, since the two languages have the same general syntax/form. One thing I don’t have those is a Scheme interpreter! I did install SBCL and CLISP a while ago, so I figured that I would just use that. Well, it turns out that Scheme is also slightly different than Common Lisp. :) But thanks to Peter Seibel and his excellent book “Practical Common Lisp”, I was able to translate the first few programs in the SICP so that they would run in my CLISP-Slime environment. So if you find yourself in this situation, be sure to check out the best Common Lisp tutorial on the net. Its free and it is very well written, so I highly recommend it. I remember playing around with it a while ago, and being impressed with it back then. The good news is it is still as good now as it was then.