[Openmcl-devel] prompt-for-file (embarrassing question)

Dimitri Simos dim at lissys.demon.co.uk
Thu Mar 30 04:10:16 PDT 2017


Must be my first Lisp post in a decade or two. Oh well, here goes:

I am 60 and all my life’s work and all my earnings have come from an 
Aeronautical thing called Piano.

I wrote Piano in Coral CCL in the late 80s / early 90s.

I had a PhD in Aeronautics, no qualifications in programming, and I 
taught myself CCL/MCL.

It was the most satisfying intellectual experience I ever had.

I learned MCL because it let me do every simple thing that I needed to. 
Write up my aero equations, make a few simple windows with buttons and 
menus and dialogs, build up my own crude line-drawing graphics.

Then Lispers seemed to give up on non-programmers that might dare like Lisp.

<< insert a couple of decades of Brexit-level strategic suicides and own 
goals in the world of computers and software >>

Piano nearly died when MCL died. It was saved by Edi and Gail who helped 
me port it to LispWorks.

LW is phenomenal. It is an immensely powerful tour de force in Lisp, and 
it allowed Piano to thrive again. Thanks guys. You are pure magic.

But there is no chance of handling GUI stuff on my own any longer.

So I could never re-create Piano today alone, even if I was in my 30s again.

If a non-programmer starts on LW today, he has no obvious way around an 
impenetrable barrier of pictographic or cuneiform editors debuggers 
steppers tracers browsers inspectors object orientated stuff threading 
stuff and error handling stuff. He is DOA.

If a non-programmer starts on CCL today, he doesn’t even have a Lisp. 
Not unless he’s willing to build it himself through a litany of deeply 
specialist procedures. He can kind of download something from Apple, but 
gets no ready-to-go GUI without the same litany. He’s DOA.

Is it genuinely impossible to have a Lisp that starts with a 
double-click and offers an elementary set of GUI elements (crude ones, 
but expandable after getting some expertise), just good enough to get a 
non-programmer started without intimidating him to death with 100 
acronyms and libraries that he has to google and download and master and 
load before he gets started?

MCL did it. Was it written by Aliens? It seems to me that LW COULD do 
it. Everything is already there. It is a question of hiding features and 
simplifying editing, not implementing new gizmos.

To all of you, to all my Lisper friends: I genuinely admire and respect 
you, I idolise and adore you. You are the bee’s knees, and so is Lisp. 
Now, for ----’s sake, stop being bloody programmers and think of what a 
scientist or engineer or anyone who CAN understand the basic logical 
concepts of Lisp might need, to GET STARTED. Maybe start the guide with 
examples. It may work wonders.

All the best,


On 30/03/2017 01:34, Laughing Water wrote:
> I’m embarrassed to ask, but I have failed to figure out how to successfully execute PROMPT-FOR-FILE. This is on Mac OS X 10.11.6 and using a freshly-downloaded CCL 1.11-store-r16714 from the App Store.
> ? (in-package :hi)
> #<Package "HI">
> ? (prompt-for-file)
>> Error: There is no applicable method for the generic function:
>>         when called with arguments:
>>           (NIL)
>> While executing: #<CCL::STANDARD-KERNEL-METHOD NO-APPLICABLE-METHOD (T)>, in process Listener(4).
> I first laid my hands on MCL in 1990, have used LispWorks for over 10 years and wanted to try running some of my code in CCL. I was hoping for some instant gratification with a small piece of programming, but no success after an hour or more poring through documentation.
> Laughing Water
> _______________________________________________
> Openmcl-devel mailing list
> Openmcl-devel at clozure.com
> https://lists.clozure.com/mailman/listinfo/openmcl-devel


Dimitri Simos                 Lissys Ltd  http://www.piano.aero

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