Home > books, tech > Want a good Lisp tutorial?

Want a good Lisp tutorial?

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Here is a great Lisp tutorial.

I first heard of Lisp in my programming languages class, but never paid much attention to it. Well, you could still pass that exam if you never learned a thing about Lisp (or any of the programming languages “taught” there), so I never bothered. Later when I started reading blogs and technical articles, I started hearing more about Lisp.

My first attempt at learning Lisp was from David S. Touretzky’s online book Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation. The book did not interest me and I never completed it. Later that year, I spotted Stephen Slade’s Object-Oriented Common LISP at Gangaram’s and bought it. That book went way above my head and I still did not get Lisp.

It was in late 2004 that I heard of Peter Seibel’s Practical Common Lisp. Peter was in the process of writing the books and he had put the content on the web. I started reading the online copy of the book but without much hope. I was pleasantly surprised! The book was actually a very good read and all those parenthesis started to make sense finally. Later when I ran into difficulties with a few examples in the book, I wrote to Peter. He was kind enough to reply and make minor fixes to the code in the book.

I still haven’t programmed much in Lisp besides a few toy programs. But I understand why people rave so much about Lisp – and I am grateful to Peter Seibel for opening my eyes. So when he made this request, I thought I owed it to him.

PS: Someone, I can’t remember who, borrowed the Slade book from me in 2004 and never returned it. If anyone reading this have it, please drop me a note. :-)

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