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Any reason for not learning NewLisp as first Lisp?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:57 pm
by GuidoS

My name is Guido (Italian, but living most of the time in France), I am new to NewLisp, although I did a little CL back in university.

I am not a programmer by trade, but I have been using perl, bash, php and a little python to do the needful for me and my acquaintances.

My main coding efforts are in the text processing area.

I like very much the feeling of NewLisp, and would like to try it thoroughly, to see if it can substitute most of my tools, at least for most of my needs (I do not think it would be easy to substitute, for example, awk...)

I like Lisp in general, because of its beauty, expressivity and "feeling" (forgive me to say, one of the things I like most are the use of parentheses. I really can't understand those who hates them)

I am a little worried about one thing:

if a newbie like me wants to learn Lisp, in the future, would it be easy for him to learn Common Lisp as well (say, for doing something I could do better with SBCL, or other tools), if he starts with NewLisp?

I am sure a regular programmer could easily pick up the differences, and jump from NewLisp to CL with nor many problems.

But for a non-programmer like me, is there any reason I should start learning Common Lisp first, and then come to NewLisp, instead of starting from NewLisp right away?

Perhaps getting some "easy habits" that I could not use in CL, or some syntax I would be better off learning right away?

Thanks so much to the NewLisp developers and the NewLisp community!


Re: Any reason for not learning NewLisp as first Lisp?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:08 pm
by cormullion
An interesting question. Some aspects of the Lisp Way run deeply through all dialects and flavours of the language. But there are many differences too between simple dialects such as newLISP and the larger more complex systems such as Common Lisp and Clojure. If you want to learn languages and are not easily confused then you could try learning both Scheme or Racket or Common Lisp or Clojure alongside newLISP. The benefits of doing this are that you will be able to appreciate the advantages and drawbacks of both. Where newLISP is easy for scripting and quick web apps, you may find a need for more power than the language offers in other areas. If you enjoy playing with installers, compilers, and build systems, you'll find newLISP sadly deficient in such perverse pleasures...

Of course, some will say that newLISP is not a real Lisp, and I think they're right only in that newLISP and Common Lisp are very different animals, far apart in scale and purpose, let alone in ease of use and complexity.

I'm on record somewhere saying that you could start with newLISP and move up to a bigger language when - or if - you grow out of it.

Re: Any reason for not learning NewLisp as first Lisp?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:44 am
by xytroxon
LISP is used a lot by secret government funded R&D corporations and deep pocket Wall Street traders... The "real" LISP compilers cost lots of money... These tend to be huge systems in terms of the required support code base in order to run even simple code...

Scheme compilers are used mainly by the academic world for research in writing Scheme compilers... The dozens (and dozens) of these school project to graduate level compilers (mostly free), suffer from incomplete, incompatible and or outdated support libraries...

Clojure is used by people that just loved Sun's old Java, and now want to be first in line to be sued by Oracle's new Java...

newLISP is used by people that want to get their work done without devoting their entire life's work to it... (except of course Lutz ;)

And 99% of everyone else uses an imperative language because of the damn (()(()()))'s...

As for me, newLISP is the less frustrating (and fun) path to follow... Join us if you dare!!!

-- xytroxon

Re: Any reason for not learning NewLisp as first Lisp?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:56 pm
by GuidoS
Thank you very much, cormullion and xytroxon.

As I said elsewhere, I like Lisp *especially* because of its syntax.
To me, it is still the most beautiful language around (putting aside all the other aspects), really because of its “aesthetics”.

And I feel parenthesis are a big part of that “feeling”.

When I read well written Lisp code I feel my awareness of the subject gets cleaner and tidier and lighter. I never experienced a similar thing with other languages. I am not belittling them, or criticising. It is just a deep personal feeling, that has been lasting since university times, back in the 90s.

After reading so many pages, on so many sites, I have decided that I will learn newlisp as my first lisp.

After having seen what newlisp can do (at and I am eager to see what I can do with it.

If you do not mind, I may bother you with some questions if I will be stuck on some points.

Thank you so much again.

Re: Any reason for not learning NewLisp as first Lisp?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:44 pm
by cormullion
You're most welcome. If you happen to be looking at the wikibooks tutorial, please notice and comment on any errors or improvements - thanks!