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Re: Cool and Useful LISP for the .emacs file

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Cool and Useful LISP for the .emacs file
Date: 23 Nov 2003 19:02:23 +1100
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3

>>>>> "Jody" == Jody M Klymak <> writes:

 Jody> Hi Dan,

 Jody> Dan Anderson <> writes:

 Jody> [snip much good advice...]

 >> Learning LISP is not hard...

 Jody> Heh, heh.  Compared to what?  Assembly code?

 Jody> I personally find lisp quite difficult.  The opportunities to
 Jody> code in it are few and far enough between, and the syntax so
 Jody> different from any other modern language, that I have a one-day
 Jody> overhead just to spool up to the point where I can do even the
 Jody> simplest thing.  And thus the coding opportunities get even
 Jody> fewer and further between, and the cycle spirals to the point
 Jody> where I am dependent on the good nature of package maintainers
 Jody> to tweak what I want.

 Jody> This must limit the base of emacs coders.

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

Wow, that sounds familiar. I found the same thing, at first. However,
after investing considerable time I now *think* I see the light at the
end of the tunnel. 

to some extent, I think its harder to get your head around lisp when
you come form a background of more procedural type languages such as
C. Those starting with lisp rather than moving to it from another
language seem to have an easier time. It think its because lisp (and
elisp) represent a totally different way of thinking about problems,
coding the solutions and debugging. 

While I still class myself as very much a novice with elisp, I am at
last beginning to see some of the elegance and find my own solutions
are beginning to reflect my shift to a more elisp/lisp approach. Once
you get there, you begin to find its very quick compard to languages
like C. Now, I'm less hesitant when I come across something which
doesn't quite work the way I like it and often find myself stunned by
how few lines and how easily I can modify or add some functionality. 

I've even started prototyping some of my ideas in lisp and if
applicable elisp. then, if the idea seems to bare fruit and I want to
apply it to some project I'm doing in another language, I recode it in
that language. this is very enlightening as you begin to see how some
things are very simple to do in lisp and much more complicated or time
consuming to do in C or some other language. 

the thing I'm really pleased about is I believe my C coding, scripting
and work I do generally has improved - solutions/algorithims seem to
be clearer and to me, more elegant.

While it does take time, I think there is a lot to recommend
lisp/elisp for both coding and learning.

Tim Cross
The e-mail address on this message is FALSE (obviously!). My real e-mail is
to a company in Australia called rapttech and my login is tcross - if you 
really need to send mail, you should be able to work it out!

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