Thursday, April 06, 2006

Getting Started with Common Lisp, part 1

I've spent the last couple of months learning Lisp. I would say the hardest part about the process has been figuring out how to get a proper development process setup and learning how to install libraries.
Lisp is a significantly different environment than any of the other languages I have learned. It's not the syntax that is the real issue. Once you get used to prefix notation and how the libraries work, you really start to appreciate the language. If you get emacs setup correctly then Lisp syntax is actually easier than the more common languages. The bug hurdle in my adjustment to Lisp was getting used to working with the repl, learning about application images, learning how to work with SLIME and learning the primary library and application management system, which is called ASDF. Once you learn how to install ASDF, getting and installing libraries becomes simple, somewhat like CPAN or Python's easyInstall. The next few posts will be about how I overcame each of these hurdles and learning to appreciate Lisp and the Lisp way.

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