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1 Definition

LISP is a multi-paradigm family of programming languages. It was and is popular in artificial intelligence research, but also for teaching programming fundamentals in elite schools.

“Lisp is a family of computer programming languages with a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized syntax. Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today; only Fortran is older. Like Fortran, Lisp has changed a great deal since its early days, and a number of dialects have existed over its history. Today, the most widely known general-purpose Lisp dialects are Common Lisp and Scheme. (Wikipedia, retrieved 17:56, 10 April 2008 (UTC))”

“Common Lisp is well suited to large programming projects and explorative programming. The language has a dynamic semantics which distinguishes it from languages such as C and Ada. It features automatic memory management, an interactive incremental development environment, a module system, a large number of powerful data structures, a large standard library of useful functions, a sophisticated object system supporting multiple inheritance and generic functions, an exception system, user-defined types and a macro system which allows programmers to extend the language. CMUCL, retrieved 17:56, 10 April 2008 (UTC)).”

On a personal note: LISP is the only programming language, the main contributor to this Wiki ever liked. Same is true for a special purpose PC I worked with in the late eighties, a Symbolics 3620. It was the future in many ways. I started this page because I do teach some more recent stuff like JavaScript or PHP basics to non-programmers and sometimes (like today) I just wonder why those languages are so ugly and so unreliable compared to what we had 20 years ago and after some googling I found out that LISP and even AI is well alive and maybe even coming back a bit. Maybe I should trash PHP teaching at TECFA and go for Scheme instead :)

Today, there are still several popular flavors of LISP, e.g.

  • CommonLISP (the dominant LISP before the 90' "AI winter"
  • Scheme
  • EmacsLISP (to program the Emacs editor)

Furthermore, there exist libraries for various programming languages and that implement subsets of LISP or Scheme or implement at least some features.

2 In education

  • A large part (or even the majority) of Intelligent tutoring systems have been programmed in LISP or on top of expert system engines programmed in LISP.
  • Lisp-based web servers can be used to implement adaptive hypertext systems.

3 Tutorials and documentation

3.1 Short introductions and overviews

3.2 Beginner's tutorials

3.3 Books

  • Paul Graham On LISP is a comprehensive study of advanced Lisp techniques, with bottom-up programming as the unifying theme. (Free online version of Prentice Hall, 1993, 432 pages, paperback. ISBN 0130305529).

3.4 LISP and web

4 Software

4.1 Common LISP implementations

  • CMUCL. a free implementation of the Common Lisp programming language which runs on most major Unix platforms.
  • Steel Bank Common Lisp (SBCL) open source / free software Common Lisp implementation. this is a fork of CMUCL. Free and high performance.
  • GCL The GNU implementation of Common Lisp.
  • Clozure CL is an open source Common Lisp implementation that runs on PowerPC hardware under Mac OS X and LinuxPPC, and on x86-64 hardware under Linux, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD.

4.2 Webservers in LISP or Scheme

  • CL-HTTP developped at MIT under the lead of J. Mallery. Free (but restricted copyright). The free version runs on various systems and LISPs.
  • araneida. Araneida is a fairly small free extensible Web server for SBCL and many other Common Lisp implementations .
  • HUNCHENTOOT The Common Lisp web server formerly known as TBNL
  • AllegroServe. a Web HTTP/Application Server. Free (LLGPL), made by John Foderaro (Franz Inc.)

4.3 Repositories

4.4 Various

This is totally uncomplete and will remain so. See CLIKI instead, e.g.

  • Wilbur Semantic Web Toolkit for CLOS. Wilbur is Nokia Research Center's toolkit for programming Semantic Web applications that use RDF (as well as XML and/or DAML+OIL), written in Common Lisp.
  • CL-XML An XML library for CL. The modules perform parsing and serialization between XML, XML Query, and XML Path expressions and DOM-compatible CLOS instances.

5 Links

  • Cliki The common lisp wiki. Probably the best overal resource currently. Sorted by resources type or application domain.

5.1 Collections of links

5.2 Opinions