Peter Santoro
I, Peter Santoro, 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?

Although I used the lisp family of languages (scheme and others) in graduate school (mid 1980's), I started using scheme seriously in the fourth quarter of 2002. I'm building an application which I need to provide a service that I hope will provide me with a steady income. After my initial prototype was written using bash shell scripts, I decided to give scheme a serious try.

What led you to try Lisp?

I have used a variety of languages over the years, but most of my work experience is with C/C++ and Java. However, I have always been interested in lisp and forth.

In 2001, I read "Early Adopter J2SE 1.4" by James Hart to familiarize myself with the changes to Java 1.4. Although the book served its purpose, I was disenchanted by chapter 7, "The Future". It struck me as funny that some of the proposed "future" features for Java had already been done in lisp decades ago.

In addition, the current and future employment picture for US computer professionals over 40 made me question the wisdom and rational of spending additional time to study the latest and greatest "new" technology. After all, most "new" technologies are simply repackaging of existing technologies anyway. In fact, I've seen very few real advancements in software development over the last 20+ years.

Mature, flexible technologies like lisp are highly underrated.

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?

C++ is an OK language, but its full syntax has become too complex for my liking.

Java is an OK language and its libraries can be very useful, but I'm tired of the changes. I prefer mature, stable, and more expressive tools.

XML is OK as a data specification, but the "everything must be XML" folks really need to rethink their mantra (especially XSLT). Lisp and sexprs make more sense to me.

How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?

Although I am not a lisp expert, I do feel comfortable with using scheme now.

I like to read technical material, so I own most of the lisp (and forth) texts that have been written. I hope to continue my study of lisp and may purchase the few remaining lisp texts that I lack for winter reading.

What do you think of Lisp so far?

No programming language is perfect, but lisp comes pretty close for me. Lisp's expressiveness and repl make it easier to test and re-factor code. I've found programming in scheme to be very productive and fun. In addition, I've been pleasantly surprised with the execution speed of my application. Even if my application fails to provide me with a steady income, lisp has already proven its worth.

My wish list for lisp includes:

1) a standard ffi would be really nice 2) additional quality/free libraries (or interfaces to existing libraries) would be very helpful and save time

As I am comfortable with C programming, these two items are not show-stoppers for me.

Switch Date 2002 RtL Formal Education