[Openmcl-devel] A plug for nx1-combination-hook

Rainer Joswig joswig at lisp.de
Mon Sep 7 20:49:42 UTC 2009

Am 07.09.2009 um 18:52 schrieb Terje Norderhaug:

> On Sep 4, 2009, at 3:23 AM, Glen Foy wrote:
>> On Sep 3, 2009, at 6:57 PM, Ron Garret wrote:
>>> IMHO, being able to actually run the more compact form would be a  
>>> big
>>> win for pedagogical purposes if nothing else.
>> Many of us come from an MCL background, Clozure as well as list
>> members.  We are used to MCL's lean, even Spartan IDE.  We know  
>> that a
>> Lisp System doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles to be really
>> powerful.
> I am in the camp preferring a more spartan, focused IDE for myself,
> with just the functionality I need. But I can see the attraction of
> toolbars etc. It could be useful to have a variety of IDEs on top of
> a lisp environment, supporting the taste/needs of different  
> developers.

One of the attractions of MCL was/is that it was relatively simple,  
got some basic Lisp interaction right and was relatively easy to extend.

There are a few things I do not like about MCL:

* not everything is easily discoverable via the GUI. Lot's of editor  
commands for example.

* the code was not layered enough, low-level toolbox calls practically  
mixed into the code everywhere

* some basic things like source coloring were not part of the official  
version (though available as extensions)

I would wish that a basic Lisp IDE would be similarly clean, but  
slightly more visual.

If we go for a more radical redesign I don't think Eclipse is a good  
model. Lisp is interactive and symbolic at its core. An IDE should  
reflect this. If we use Eclipse, then we can use Java as well or maybe  
Eclipse with a Lisp plugin (CUSP).

I'm an Apple user and some of my UI preferences are based on what  
Apple does with its UI design. Not everything, but I can see why Apple  
is doing some of their stuff and why it can make sense (like  
Dashboard, the Dock, iTunes, ...).

I would make my IDE user interface more like Apple Mail or iTunes. One  
basic element is 'live search'. 'live search' mixes well with Lisp,  
since we have a running Lisp image that can be queried. Another  
element is 'windows with some basic panes': overview, hierarchies, ...  
Libraries are large we need to find and navigate effectively. We need  
custom searches into the source or the live image.

I made a small presentation two years ago. Maybe somebody finds it  


But for now a simple, MCL-like IDE is fine.


Rainer Joswig

Rainer Joswig, Hamburg, Germany
mailto:joswig at lisp.de

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