- Programming in Lisp makes one feel good (I know, this is about as touchy-feely as you can get). The constant effort to abstract things away, looking for ways to automate repetitive code fragments, and so on brings with it a real sense of progress (at least from a programming perspective).
- Though Lisp shares the concept of an image with Smalltalk, this is not as readily apparent and IMHO as powerful as Smalltalk; for example, I need to load packages through startup files each time I start the environment.
- The Lisp environments are not as friendly as the Smalltalk IDEs where everything hangs together, so to speak.
- Library support also seems more cohesive in Smalltalk. asdf-install does provide a way to pull packages easily, but there is no way to see what packages are currently installed in the image, what *are* the 'right' packages to install, etc. Not to mention the need to load packages every time using the startup file.
- File-based development seems like a regressive step after programming in Smalltalk. For one thing, I don't know if there is an easier way to load the code from all my files than calling load every time I start the environment.
- I have a small homegrown wiki application running in VisualWorks which I wanted to see if I could redo in Lisp. After googling a bit and searching the Common Lisp web sites, two frameworks seemed worth pursuing: WebActions (modelled on Struts) and Weblocks (a Seaside-like continuations-based framework). Weblocks seems the more promising, no doubt owing to the advantages of using continuations.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Lisp or Smalltalk?
I have been thinking about doing all my side projects in Lisp -- due in no small measure to taking the time to finally read Practical Common Lisp cover to cover -- and have been playing around with the various Lisp environments and libraries. Impressions: