Top Reasons To Use Lisp

There several reasons to learn a new language. Lisp is on the languages that I like a lot, although I haven’t been lucky to use it for work.

Here is what I believe are some good reasons to give Lisp a chance:

  • It has a very regular syntax: everything is an s-expression (expression with parenthesis), so there is no surprises in terms of syntax. After you learn how to create functions and work with data types, there is not much to worry about.
  • It has a huge library: if you decide to use Common-Lisp, the languages comes already with a ton of useful functions.
  • It is multi-paradigm: unlike Java that forces you to write OO code, Lisp supports several paradigms: functional, OO, declarative (Prolog style), and even imperative.
  • Third-party libraries exist: different from a few years ago, libraries for Lisp are available for most applications. There are a few web sites like clbuild that provide all libraries you need in a simple-to-install package.
  • It is a compiled language: unlike languages such as Python and Ruby that are interpreted, Lisp is compiled (to machine language, not to an intermediate language such as Java). This makes it extremely fast compared to other dynamic languages. Its compiler also has options to generate typed expressions, so that you can get the ultimate speed when working with integers and floating point numbers.
  • It is a modern language: implementations such as sbcl (available for Windows too), and clojure (for Java) make it possible to create modern applications that are just as fast as any other language (including C).

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About the Author

Carlos Oliveira holds a PhD in Systems Engineering and Optimization from University of Florida. He works as a software engineer, with more than 10 years of experience in developing high performance, commercial and scientific applications in C++, Java, and Objective-C. His most Recent Book is Practical C++ Financial Programming.

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