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Created by gigamonkey on: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 21:32:39 GMT, Last modification: Thu, 05 Oct 2006 21:03:45 GMT

A development environment for new Lispers.

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Peter Seibel



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Seems to work well, LTK seems to misbehave

Lispbox is a great answer for a Non-GUI one-stop LISP distribution.
It seems that the biggest problem with LISP today is that there is 'Too much Choice'... meaning that its really hard for a new user to get an acceptable programming environment because of the multitude of incompatible releases and add-ons. Many distributions of LISP work fine until you try to add something to them, then you get sucked into a LISP-hole, acting as an evaluator of software, which is a huge time-killer. Lispbox helps to smooth this transition, by giving you most of what you need to be able to program in LISP. However, there is no built-in GUI support.
This leads the newbie into a LISP-hole... like an ebay-hole, it is an undefined period of time, where everything else appears to stop for many hours on end, while you are wrapped up in evaluting scores of potential answers that may or may not provide the answer that you were seeking in the first place.
This can be especially cumbersome for someone new to modern LISPs & Emacs versions, and Slime and other glue necessary to make the development environment work right under Windows. If a UNIX sys admin/software engineer with 25 years of advanced computer science experience has to spend 16 hours fiddling with something, as a LISP newbie, how long does it take for a high school kid that's a LISP newbie?
Gut reaction-don't even bother... unless you are dead-set on getting the programming environment you want, without having to resort to a commercial distribution (which most people won't, hence LISP is not as big as perl with programmers of all ages, no matter how powerful it is).
Anyway, Lispbox with CLISP almost gets it right for the user looking to
to 'download and learn' it just needs to iron out an acceptable GUI facility.
LTK provides a free GUI for CLISP that uses TK, but it has some proplems in the 0.7 Lispbox.
The hitch that I have run into is that LTK, the GUI patch add-on for CLISP does not work as expected all of the time in Lispbox. Some example code from the LTK manual works right (canvastest), but examples such as (hello-world1) and 2 require the user to interrupt the LISP process before they will display. Aside from that, when it does work, windowing appears very slow compared to native TCL/TK.
I would like to see LTK integrated into Lispbox, so that it works correctly, and have some attention paid to overall performance issues. When things run slowly on a dual Xeon, something's wrong!
Thanks for a CLI great distribution, I hope that it gets an LTK GUI, to make it useful in the real world.

Submitted by HAL9000-series 3758 days 9 hours 54 min ago