I, Person, do solemnly offer these my responses to The Road to Lisp Survey:

When did you first try Lisp (meaning here and throughout the survey "any member of the Lisp family") seriously, and which Lisp family member was it? About a year ago. I can't remember exactly but I was reading about programming language paradigms and saw Lisp listed. I read some very basic tutorials that told me about the syntax and evaluation. I think the tutorials were nominally about Common Lisp.

What led you to try Lisp? Broad interest in programming languages in general. Interest in what exactly it is to program non-imperatively. Reading Kiczales' (et al.) papers on Open Implementation, MOP and AOP. Interest in _really_ high level languages.

If you were trying Lisp out of unhappiness with another language, what was that other language and what did you not like about it, or what were you hoping to find different in Lisp? Not really. I was more addressing a (big) gap (the whole higher half!) in my knowledge of the spectrum of programming langauges. Understanding Greenspun's Tenth Law.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure) Not very far. I have written some toy programs - nothing useful, or complete application.

What do you think of Lisp so far? Interesting. Broad. Powerful. I'm (roughly) coming from the PaulGraham angle of: use these incredibly powerful tools (Common Lisp with its environment) to reduce the amount of work that the programmer has to do. In a large part, it's a re-use argument. It's also a get-away-from-the-machine argument, I think. The big thing that I don't get is how functional (or logic, for that matter) programs "should" operate, at the top-level. OO programs (in the message-passing paradigm), at the top level, are "meant" to be a set of objects passing messages to each other. So the top-level of such a program tends to be object instantiation and reference dissemination so that the created objects can communicate. Quite what the parallel metaphor for Lisp et al. is, I'm not sure.

Switch Date 2002 RtL Language Curiosity