When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?
In April 2002, checked out Common Lisp and Scheme in some detail, and then chose Common Lisp.
What led you to try Lisp?
I have participated in one of the first Feyerabend workshops, organized by Richard Gabriel, one of the guys who started the Common Lisp thing. I have also read his book Patterns of Software around that time.
Later we had a small discussion in the patterns discussion mailing list. He tried to promote Lisp as a language that has the quality without a name, and I made some cursory remarks about Lisp's unnecessarily complicated syntax, just like anybody else who doesn't get it yet. ;)
To me, the most important comment he made was: "True, only the creatively intelligent can prosper in the Lisp world." This annoyed me so much that it made me want to learn Lisp seriously, just to see who of us is really wrong.
Needless to say, I was wrong. ;-)
Where did your road originate?
The main languages I have used in the past were Basic, Pascal, Modula-2, Oberon and Java. (I still have a sweet spot for Oberon in my heart.) I have also added some sprinkles of Prolog and some functional programming languages in those years.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?
I have learned considerably much about Common Lisp in a relatively short amount of time. This is probably due to the fact that I haven't started with toy examples but attempted a rather large piece of software as a learning device. This is because I have read amazing things about Common Lisp everywhere, especially that you can write software with it that you wouldn't even dare to write in other languages. So I have decided to put it to the test.
All I can say is that I really recommend such an approach. Many of Common Lisp's features only make sense for programming in the large, and you can only get a feel for those features by actually writing large programs.
What do you think of Lisp so far?
Lisp is the mother of all languages. Paul Graham's The Roots of Lisp and The Art of the Interpreter by Guy Steele and Gerald Sussman are really mind-blowing eye-openers. Add macros (see On Lisp) to the puzzle, and you never want to go back to another language again.
Common Lisp is also by far the only true multi-paradigm language that I know of. I have had the nagging feeling for many years that "pure" programming languages suck, whatever paradigm they implement. Common Lisp proves that multi-paradigm programming really works.
Please delete all but one of these cross-referencing tags: Switch Date 2002 | Seek and Ye Shall Find | RtL Greenspun's Tenth | RtL Language Curiosity | RtL Richard Gabriel