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Re: Cool and Useful LISP for the .emacs file

From: Kevin Rodgers
Subject: Re: Cool and Useful LISP for the .emacs file
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 11:20:34 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; SunOS i86pc; en-US; rv: Gecko/20020406 Netscape6/6.2.2

Jody M. Klymak wrote:

Hi Dan,

Dan Anderson <> writes:

[snip much good advice...]

Learning LISP is not hard...

Heh, heh. Compared to what? Assembly code?

Compared to any imperative language where each statement has its own syntax.

I personally find lisp quite difficult.  The opportunities to code in
it are few and far enough between,

Hardly!  You can spend all day writing Emacs customizations and extensions.  :-)
My Franz and Common Lisp coding days were a decade ago.  :-(

and the syntax so different from any other modern language,

I see this as a benefit: Java's syntax is tolerable, and I'm a fairly proficient
shell scripter, but I think C/C++ and Perl are unreadable and unwriteable.

that I have a one-day overhead just to
spool up to the point where I can do even the simplest thing.  And
thus the coding opportunities get even fewer and further between, and
the cycle spirals to the point where I am dependent on the good nature
of package maintainers to tweak what I want.

Fortunately most of them are good natured, indeed.

The hard part about Emacs Lisp is not the Lisp core, but the Emacs features.
The Lisp control structures, data types, and the operators are similar to many
other languages.  But the Emacs objects like buffers, windows, frames, keymaps,
display tables, coding systems, processes, etc. are complex, and it can be hard
to learn how to program in a way to meet the conventions of its rich user interface.

This must limit the base of emacs coders.

I haven't noticed.  :-)

Despite this, of course, there are many wonderful packages written for
emacs.  It causes me to wonder if this is despite lisp or in some way
because of it.

I think it's obviously because of it.

Hang in there, it's a very rewarding way to program.

Kevin Rodgers

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