Books of Note

Practical Common
LispThe best intro to start your journey. Excellent coverage of CLOS.

ANSI Common
LispAnother great starting point with a different focus.

Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence
ProgrammingA superb set of Lisp examples. Not just for the AI crowd.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Best of Finding Lisp, 2005 

Okay, it's that end-of-year time agan. Time to reflect back on all that's happened this year and plan for the next. I was going through my weblogs this morning and decided it would be fun to pull out the most-hit pages and make a Letterman-esque Top 10 list. Note that I did a straight ranking of pages, irrespective of the date they were created, ignoring things like monthly index pages or the books page. About half the pages were from 2004. Possibly, this reflects the amount of time these pages have been available; some newer pages suffer because there simply hasn't been enough time for them to garner enough hits and because there are fewer back-links to them. Be that as it may, here's the roundup!

10 -- More RAD Thoughts. A discussion of some feedback on an earlier post about RAD development in Lisp. Also, I cover some thoughts on the various license terms of commercial Lisp implementations.

9 -- XML + ASN.1 = faster? (or Stones Don't Float). A discussion of Fast Infoset and the idea of XML compression in general.

8 -- More REST and continuations. A quick hit announcement of Anton van Straaten's talk about REST and continuations at LL4. One of the comments gives a link to the slides.

7 -- Lisp RAD. The original post wondering about Lisp RAD that prompted the follow-up at #10. Hmmm... I wonder where SK8 is today? I haven't heard anything about it in a while.

6 -- Moving to the darcs side. A discussion about the darcs revision control system and a comparison of it to Arch. I think this post has been popular because it made its way onto the darcs wiki. I should write some more about my experience with darcs. The summary is that it has been quite positive. I use darcs all the time now and I find it quite nice. I don't think it takes the place of Subversion for some larger, more centralized projects, but it's great for a small group of developers or people doing distributed development. I have noticed that a lot of Lisp projects that once used Arch have now gone over to the darcs side, too.

5 -- Darcs and Arch revisited. A follow-up to the original darcs posting with more info about my experiences.

4 -- Web application design: the REST of the story. This posting describes the REST web application architecture in some detail. I think this posting has gotten a bunch of cross-links in the web development community, particularly in the REST vs. continuations debate. Following this, Marco Barringer, the author of Uncommon Web (UCW), and I ended up going back-and-forth regarding REST and continuations in a long email exchange.

3 -- DNS Message Decoding: A Case Study Comparing Java and Common Lisp. Written May of 2004, this posting continues to be a favorite, which is quite remarkable because it's actually a bit burried on the Finding Lisp site, mentioned in just a single blog posting with no top-level links. This posting is a comparison I did of the DNS packet decoding code I wrote in Lisp for my Resolver library versus some similar code I once wrote in Java. I did this comparison to convince myself that what Paul Graham and others have said about Lisp reducing the amount of code you have to write was actually true. In this case, Lisp certainly took down Java.

2 -- ILC 2005, Wednesday report (late). This posting chronicles part of my experience at this year's ILC at Stanford. In short, this was a fun conference, for a couple of reasons. First, many of the talks were quite enjoyable, even (particularly?) the ones with some controversial content (Patrick Dussud's Re-inventing Lisp for Ubiquity comes to mind -- "He's a witch! Burn him!" ;-). Second, I got to meet a bunch of nice people face-to-face (among many others, Mastenbrook, Wiseman, Fix, O'Connor, Tilton, Costanza, and Seibel, whom I had already met at various BA Lispniks events, but who signed my copy of Practical Common Lisp).

1 -- Reddit and Lisp psychosis. Well, what can I say. In spite of being written only a couple weeks ago, this was far-and-away the top runner this year. The response to this post bowled me over. I somehow got to the #1 ranking on Reddit for a couple days (before the copulating deaf couple knocked me out ;-), which garnered a bunch of visibility for this blog, some of which seems to have stuck. Hello to the new readers. Further, it seems to have struck a cord with a bunch of people that have been harboring frustration with Lisp's "freeze-dried-since-1994" state. All the energy surrounding the Reddit event, not necessarily my posting, seems to have erupted into a flurry of activity, including the completion of a port of SBCL to Windows, the CL Gardeners project, and my own work on network programming APIs (and I'm sure even more projects that I haven't even heard about yet).

Here's to an industrious 2006. Happy New Year!


Hey, I've just recently discovered this blog. LISP interests me, as does PROLOG and really anything that can be used to code A.I. Before I took a java/perl/php/web development turn with my career, I was very much interested in A.I. and worked with LISP on some small side projects involving my own expert systems. I've been out of the LISP loop for a couple years now since I graduated, but your blog is inspiring me to try to keep up to date a bit more. Oh, and FYI I happened upon your blog because it was featured on Blogger, not Reddit.

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