[Openmcl-devel] bad impressions to Lisp newbies

Alexander Repenning ralex at cs.colorado.edu
Fri Apr 24 22:29:01 UTC 2009


On Apr 24, 2009, at 2:31 AM, Leslie P. Polzer wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:53:51AM -0600, Alexander Repenning wrote:
>
>> A: Oh well, that is just how things are, Now we need to built the  
>> IDE.
>>
>> N: built the IDE ? Huhh, why?
>>
>> A: Oh well, that is just how things are
>
> I'm not sure how it is with the CCL Cocoa interface or CCL on Mac in
> general, but isn't the IDE a non-essential gimmick?
>
> Rather like "No, we don't need to build it actually, but see here CCL
> gives us this cool matching IDE for free!".

I hope this is just flame bait... OK, I bite

I can see that for some experienced Lisp users perhaps the command  
line or SLIME may be fine but this simply does not work to attract new  
programmers at any meaningful level. CS students are used to Visual  
Studio and Eclipse these days. They would not even call the CCL IDE an  
IDE. There is something to be said for a simple IDE such as the one  
MCL supported. I have successfully gotten students interested in that  
one but I have NEVER seen a student getting into Lisp via command line/ 
SLIME kinds of interfaces. Even most browsers, e.g., Safari, have  
built in IDEs with JavaScript REPL, breakpoints, object inspectors.

If an IDE a non-essential gimmick why do you even use SLIME? Why not  
program with punch cards. I am not even sure where all this back to  
the basics comes from. Certainly not from Lisp. Lisp actually invented  
many of the great IDE concepts. Remember the Symbolics? What is this  
race to the bottom all about?


>
>
>> I go to the example folder and pick them randomly, really.
>
> Your criticism of the state of the demos may be valid or not (I  
> haven't
> tried them), but I think you should have prepared your demo better.

I could have shown a nice Lisp demo on my machine but that was not the  
point.
>
> Lisp communities are small and most projects often don't have enough
> man-power (and/or varied system environments exposure) to keep all
> aspects of their software in good shape, so it should become second
> nature to prepare and double-check a demo before showing it to  
> someone.

Ask yourself: WHY are the Lisp communities so small? It is because  
Lisp has gotten a bad reputation suggesting that it is hard to use.

It may be some work to fix a non working example to be sure but I  
would claim it is better to hide broken stuff from new users.

alex



>
>  Leslie
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>

Prof. Alexander Repenning

University of Colorado
Computer Science Department
Boulder, CO 80309-430

vCard: http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~ralex/AlexanderRepenning.vcf


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