Basic Lisp Techniques

Peter Kitson

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Sample Chapter From Basic Lisp Techniques
     Copyright © David J. Cooper, Jr.


Computers, and the software applications that power them, permeate every facet of our daily lives. From groceries to airline reservations to dental appointments, our reliance on technology is all-encompassing. And, it’s not enough. Every day, our expectations of technology and software increase:

• smart appliances that can be controlled via the internet
• better search engines that generate information we actually want
• voice-activated laptops
• cars that know exactly where to go

The list is endless. Unfortunately, there is not an endless supply of programmers and developers to satisfy our insatiable appetites for new features and gadgets. Every day, hundreds of magazine and on-line articles focus on the time and people resources needed to support future technological expectations. Further, the days of unlimited funding are over. Investors want to see results, fast.

Common Lisp (CL) is one of the few languages and development options that can meet these challenges. Powerful, flexible, changeable on the fly — increasingly, CL is playing a leading role in areas with complex problem-solving demands. Engineers in the fields of bioinformatics, scheduling, data mining, document management, B2B, and E-commerce have all turned to CL to complete their applications on time and within budget. CL, however, no longer just appropriate for the most complex problems. Applications of modest complexity, but with demanding needs for fast development cycles and customization, are also ideal candidates for CL.

Other languages have tried to mimic CL, with limited success. Perl, Python, Java, C++, C# — they all incorporate some of the features that give Lisp its power, but their implementations tend to be brittle.

The purpose of this book is to showcase the features that make CL so much better than these imitators, and to give you a “quick-start” guide for using Common Lisp as a development environment. If you are an experienced programmer in languages other than Lisp, this guide gives you all the tools you need to begin writing Lisp applications. If you’ve had some exposure to Lisp in the past, this guide will help refresh those memories and shed some new light on CL for you. But be careful, Lisp can be addicting! This is why many Fortune 500 companies will use nothing else on their 24/7, cutting-edge, mission-critical applications. After reading this book, trying our software, and experiencing a 3 to 10 times increase in productivity, we believe you will feel the same way.