When did you first try Lisp seriously, and which Lisp family member was it?
My first serious encounter with Lisp was sometime during June-July 2003, when I discovered Paul Graham's website through a story on Slashdot. So I installed CMUCL, got a copy of Winston and Horn, read a bit, and wrote a small program. In September or so I discovered "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" and really started learning Scheme seriously (and still am).
What led you to try Lisp?
I had read somewhat mystic references to Lisp such as that by Eric Raymond: "Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightening experience you'll have when you finally get it". Somehow, I feel like I always knew Lisp to be this incredibly cool thing I had to learn someday.
Where did your road originate?
Since I was just a student at the time I discovered Lisp (and still am), there was much of a question of switching from another language. I was just looking to learn many languages. But I had discovered Python just before that and was slowly beginning to realize that maybe C wasn't the answer to everything. But more than everything else, it was the "coolness" of Lisp that made me start learning it, regardless of its real world viability or anything.
How far have you gotten in your study of Lisp?
Not really far, I guess. For one thing, I'm comfortable with parentheses and Emacs :). I understand most of the basic stuff like list manipulations, let, lambda, etc. I also think I understand lexical scope and closures pretty well. The things I don't understand yet are macros in Common Lisp, continuations in Scheme and define-syntax, etc. in Scheme. Oh, and dynamic scope too.
What do you think of Lisp so far?
I think Lisp is incredibly cool, and already I've started noticing the effects of learning Lisp on my programming style. I write better programs, and may I say more elegant programs, in C or any other language. Writing an algorithm in Scheme feels so natural, as if I'm thinking in Scheme. Lisp serves as a reference point against which I can compare and rate other languages. It also serves as a very flexible language to experiment various programming paradigms.
Switch Date 2003
| RtL Paul Graham | RtL SICP | | RtL Eric Raymond |