Here’s a page (from a blog that’s on my blogroll) which links to two screencasts that show using LispWorks (a Common Lisp implementation on the Mac with a nice IDE) to do HTTP client and server stuff and then to develop a Reddit-like web site in around 20 minutes.
I think these would be very impressive for someone who is a die-hard C/C++ coder
and who hasn’t played around much with Python, Ruby, etc. They are probably less impressive to the Python and Ruby crowd or to people who have watched screencasts for Ruby on Rails, Django, TurboGears, etc. Or the campy Erlang movie.
The main thing that is shown in these videos is the fluidity of developing in Lisp – the ability to make a change and see it right away without a lengthy compile/link. This of course is nice but is not unique to Lisp. There are also some neat things shown regarding the LispWorks IDE, but these have more to do with the IDE than with the Lisp language. The thing that is shown that seems most unique to Lisp is the seamless embedding of the HTML generation in the code via the clever use of s-expressions. On the other hand, the value of doing this is questionable as this is essentially throwing out the concept of separating presentation from logic and making it impossible to farm the web design out to the Dreamweaver crowd.
One interesting thing I noticed is that it was easy for me to follow along and to understand the code as he was writing it, but in the end the code had the quality that Lisp has for me – that is, the meaning of it does not leap off the page. I can follow it, but only after mentally parsing the indentation while ignoring the wash of parentheses and internally translating the
So while I like the whole rapid prototyping, incremental development vibe illustrated here, I still feel like I’d rather do it in a different language.
Sorry, no red pill for me just yet.