Nicolas Sceaux's Road to Lisp
Nicolas Sceaux's Road to Lisp

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

When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?
I first met Common Lisp at school, in an "Embedded Language" course, by Robert Strandh, in 2000-2001. The examples studied in class were taken from OnLisp (query compiler) and PAIP (GPS). Thus, the Power of Macros was revealed to me since the beginning, and that's what made the difference with, say, the Java course.

What led you to try Lisp?
After the class, I wanted to learn more about that language which seemed to be quite unique in its hability to let the programmer extend its syntax, the intuition being that, macro plus interactive development could save me a lot of time and pain. After that, I learned that, bonus, it also has a powerful object system. Few times, I gave up (while easy to use, it's not easy to learn, the package thing has disturbed me for a while), and then restarted learning it, as I could not see elsewhere something as intriguing as Common Lisp.

Where did your road originate?
My few previous hacks were done in C or C++. I quickly became fed up with tasks like manual memory management, and code / long compilation / uneasy test cycle. Python and CL were solutions, but I focused on CL because of macros.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?
I read "ANSI Common Lisp" and "On Lisp", by Paul Graham, and "Object Oriented Programming in CL", by Sonja E. Keene, PAIP being the following, and started few hacks for personal use.

When I code things, I usually try to read some lines of the source code from the libraries I use. As a CL developper, I'm still experimenting.

What do you think of Lisp so far? I wish I could use it at work, as I can't help myself saying in my head "If I were using CL, I could have done that more quickly and beautifully". Quite frustrating actually. This complaint sounds quite common, though.

Switch Date 2003 | RtL Paul Graham | RtL Formal Education