Josh Goldstein on 17 Jan 2008 18:05:01 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Lisp preso?

I could talk about Scheme (a LISP dialect, almost the exact same thing as LISP) that would be similar to the Erlang talk, not that I'm an 'expert', or even a 'good public speaker/presenter'.

JP, it's flexible enough to use for procedural, OO, or functional programming.

Here's my stab at answering your questions:

* "Hello world" from scratch, after installing some Lisp
(display "hello world")

* What's with all the danged ()'s
It was meant/designed for processing lists, and it's lists are surrounded by ()'s.
So, since all programs and expressions are ()-surrounded lists, Lisp programs can manipulate themselves as easily as they manipulate any other list, which is cool because it's arguably the best list-manipulating language in existence.
Probably good for self-modifying programs/AI

* How to "think in Lisp" (like, thinking in Perl requires hashes and Regexp :)
From what I have seen, it's thinking in recursion and lists.

*What are the best books (I've looked, there aren't many)
SICP is popular and from MIT press:
HTDP is also from MIT press, it's the book I learned Scheme on:
The Scheme Programming Language:
That should be enough to keep you occupied you for at least a little while. :)
Sadly, I think MIT recently stopped using Scheme for their intro to programmming class :'(

* What's the "best" Lisp compiler for Linux (whatever "best" means) and how do we get it (clisp?)
I have no idea, but I use MzScheme :) And that can be bundled with Dr Scheme, which lets you do GUI programming, AFAI have read.

* Lisp and related languages (Scheme, etc.?)
I only know of Scheme and Lisp, and they're pretty much the same as far as any non-super-expert would see things.
Scheme and Lisp are similar to Erlang in that they don't have a type-inference system, so they're marginally more flexible,
but they also don't have pattern-matching.

* Why use Lisp
- it's pretty platform-independent
- the ability to program in any style you want
- call-with-current-continuation: setting up a possible point to return to, like a normal 'return', but the program's state is restored to exactly the same as before, except for the return value, _and_ you don't ever have to 'return' if you don't want to do so.
- macros: sort of like the C preprocessor's text substitution, but instead of only having if statements available to it, it has the _entire_ language's facilities available to do the substitution.  AFAIK, this is the 'holy grail' of Scheme/Lisp, and it can be used to build almost anything into the language, like making DSL's (like regexes) and the pattern-matching of language like SML, Erlang, Haskell.

* A more complicated example than Hello World
I attached a working chat server and client.  The code is probably not the best Scheme ever - I wrote it last weekend to get back into using Scheme.
It should run with 'mzscheme -r' or ''

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