John Williams
I, John WIlliams, 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?

Start of 2002, Common Lisp

What led you to try Lisp?

I needed a better programming environment for developing my ideas on using web applications for teaching. I had a look at Lisp and decided it could meet the needs.

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?

I had already used first Perl and then Python in the Zope Web application server to develop web based educational material. In the case of Perl of developing complex material from scratch simply became too much, and I therefore changed to using Zope as a web application server and developing modules for it. Eventually I hit two problems. Firstly Pyhton is slow - it became too slow at the point where I was using it to crossindex about 500 student written and peer reviewed papers. Secondly the ACL security model of Zope is nice but it does become too complex to properly manage as every public method has to be managed. A simpler system using only 3 or 4 roles would be simpler. Hence I looked for something else and found LISP.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp? (I know, that is hard to measure)

I am comfortable with using the language and have developed two significant Web based applications - a peer review system for students material and a generalised adaptive tutorial system which guides students through online material on the basis of their performance on the integrated tests.

What do you think of Lisp so far?

It seems to provide more room for expression than any other programming language I have used. The only downside is persuading others that it is OK to use it.

Switch Date 2002 Seek and Ye Shall Find