When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it? 1999, in a class called Computer Science 18, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, at Dartmouth College, taught by Bruce Donald. Bruce taught the class in the prefix Dylan dialect Apple abandoned a few years previously. Everyone used a hideous interpreter, called Noodlle, written in Java, and running as an applet (Netscape only). This pretty much meant writing code in Emacs and pasting it into a web browser window for evaluation. It was slow and awful, but learning about objects was part of the curriculum, and prefix Dylan had a decent subset of CLOS available. I later TAed that class for a different professor, and entertained long discussions about using Common Lisp instead, but it was deemed that having two namespaces would confuse students too much. The class is now taught in Scheme with some object extensions.
Where did your road originate?
At the time, I thought C was the most elegant language and Java the most practical one. That point of view lasted for maybe two weeks after initial exposure to Lisp.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? I think I know Common Lisp fairly well. I do not, at the moment, write Lisp code for a living, but I do like to play with it from time to time.
What do you think of Lisp so far? I like it. It has become my reference standard to how a language should work and how productive I can be in it. Sometime after my CS18 experience, I took a software engineering class, taught in C++. Just for fun, I decided to prototype one of the homeworks in CL before writing in something I could submit. Lisp coding and debugging: maybe an hour, give or take a few minutes. C++ coding and debugging: five or more hours. And that with almost no CL experience and around three years of C++ experience.
Switch Date 1990s | RtL Formal Education