Thursday, December 8, 2005

Use Lisp because it's a good language, not because people say it is.

comp.lang.lisp can be a great resource if one needs help (and has made an honest up-front effort); replies are usually detailed and extensive. That newsgroup can also be a huge distraction. There is a temptation to read too much into the opinions of the regulars there. There is also a temptation to feel validated using Lisp because therefore one no longer feels like target of mostly unstated but sometimes explicit derision; that's a poor rationale for any decision, including choice of programming language.

I felt disappointed by the recent decision by the reddit guys, because I have become a Lisp enthusiast and it was cool to see somebody doing brand new things with Lisp. But that's as far as it went for me; I didn't feel the need to try to prove them wrong, unlike many on c.l.l. Desire to show somebody up is also a poor rationale for making a decision.

Personally, it would be easier to fall back to Java because my comfort level is so high. But I keep working with Lisp because I want to learn new things, and yes, maybe reinvent some wheels along the way. Lisp is great for what I want to do, and to heck with what anyone else thinks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

First post! OK, with that out of the way...

I decided this past summer to explore Common Lisp as the vehicle for my non-work-related programming. I bought and read a copy of "Practical Common Lisp" by Peter Seibel, discovered websites like and, downloaded and started reading "On Lisp" by Paul Graham, and even posted a silly beginner's exercise to comp.lang.lisp. Since then, I have contributed to a couple Lisp-related projects. Most recently, I've embarked on an effort to implement a UI toolkit directly on top of the Win32 API.

Writing about this stuff will be, if nothing else, a way to step back and think.