Language of Choice

Reading Steve Yegge’s blog and Paul Graham‘s essays has made me want to try programming in a Lisp dialect for a major project. The only problem has been I don’t really like Common Lisp. I like the Lisp part of Common Lisp. But I don’t like the libraries, in particular there isn’t a good standard way to do serve side programming (if you find one, point it out to me). Also Common Lisp makes it hard to interact with the operating system. In contrast Python, Perl, etc. make operating system interaction extremely easy (in perl system(“command”)).

The other major Lisp dialect is Scheme, which I like for its simplicity but most Scheme implementations don’t have a strong community. There is one Scheme, PLT-Scheme, that does have a very active community of users and good support for server side and GUI programming. Even though the web page emphasizes teaching there is good support for practical programming.

The problem with PLT Scheme is speed, it’s just as slow as Python whereas some Common Lisp compilers has performance comparable to C, see language shootout.

There is another Scheme implementation, Gambit Scheme, that is speedy (as speedy as C) but once again Gambit Scheme doesn’t have all the libraries I want. So for now I’m going to try using PLT Scheme for my personal projects and see how it works out. In particular I’m going to be porting my computational geometry code over to PLT Scheme.

Hopefully most of the code I write for PLT Scheme will also run using Gambit Scheme.


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