New Lisp book on the shelves

New Lisp book on the shelves

A friend of mine, Peter Seibel, has finally finished his Lisp book, Practical Common Lisp, at long last.

Normally I would at this point launch into what an oxymoron the title of the book is, but there are some really good reasons why you should read this book. Especially for those of you who are experimenting with Groovy, Ruby, and Python. Lisp is the mother of all languages and deserves special recognition for that status. All the language features you can think of can be expressed in Lisp, have been expressed in Lisp, and are probably only a few lines of esoteric Lisp macro code to implement. One has to wonder (well you don’t have to (no one is forcing you (when i say forcing i don’t mean putting a gun to your head (not that i would do that)))), you might be able to just figure it out) why Lisp is not more mainstream, well there is a common (some people think so (those people are generally right (right in an absolute sense))) perception (a feeling) that Lisp has too many (like sometimes nested (not like birds)) parentheses. That could be it, I dunno. On the other hand there is a lot of power of actually writing your code directly in the AST rather than going through that painful lexing and parsing step, which is why I think Lisp is powerful. When we started talking about writing macros in Groovy you immediately want to be able to write them just like writing Groovy code, but that is hard because the AST and the language don’t match up directly like they do in Lisp.

Anyway, my point is that you will be a better programmer by understanding Lisp and thus your own preferred language’s failings.