LISP Lore: A Guide to Programming the LISP Machine
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This book had its genesis in the following piece of computer mail: From allegra!joan-b Tue Dec 18 89:15:54 1984 To: sola!hjb Subj ect: 1 i spm Hank, I've been talking with Mark Plotnik and Bill Gale about asking you to conduct a basic course on using the lisp machine. Mark, for instance, would really like to cover basics like the flavor system, etc. , so he could start doing his own programming without a lot of trial and error, and Bill and I would be interested in this, too. I'm quite sure that Mark Jones, Bruce, Eric and Van would also be really interested. Would you like to do it? Bill has let me know that if you'd care to set something up, he's free to meet with us anytime this week or next (although I'll only be here on Wed. next week) so we can come up with a plan. What do you think? Joan. xiv Lisp Lore (All the people and computers mentioned above work at AT&T Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, New Jersey. ) I agreed, with some trepidation, to try teaching such a course. It wasn't clear how I was going to explain the Lisp Machine environment to a few dozen beginners when at the time I felt I was scarcely able to keep myself afloat. Particularly since many of the "beginners" had PhD's in computer science and a decade or two of programming experience.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful.
The only Symbolics book you'll need outside of DocEx.
By James Crippen
Symbolics Lisp Machines running Genera have possibly the most complete online manuals of any operating system ever made. They are excruciatingly detailed, erudite, exact, and best of all are completely searchable and browsable. So one may ask why a Lisp Machine user might ever need a book outside of the Document Examiner? Well, despite the vast amount of documentation and the fantastic interactive searching and browsing capabilities of the online documentation, a new user can barely hope to learn anything from them because they are entirely too detailed and complex. Symbolics helpfully provides some simplistic teaching manuals but it's often very difficult to keep switching back and forth between DocEx and the Dynamic Lisp Listener or Zmacs. There's also a fairly large gap between the exercises provided in the Genera docs for a new user to become familiar with the system, and for a programmer to start writing new software. That's where this book comes in.
Although the book was originally written for Genera 7 it is still in most ways very up to date. It provides simple examples of using the Genera system, and how to get around in the network. More importantly it provides lots of information and examples of writing both simple and complex software for Genera. Toy programs are given, along with intricate programs using most of the advanced features of the Genera environment. One of the more entertaining examples is a Solitaire program. Exercises are given at the end of each chapter, and every exercise is well tuned to the expected knowledge of the reader as they progress through the chapters.
The only drawback of the book is that it is somewhat out of date. Instead of object-oriented programming with CLOS, available in Genera 8, the book gives examples in New Flavors, which was superseded by CLOS but is still heavily used in the internals of Genera. New Flavors is however a generic function style of OO programming, which isn't too far from that of CLOS, although the message passing paradigm of Old Flavors is still evident. Other advanced features of Genera only available in the more modern releases of this decade are uncovered in this book as well.
All in all, a fantastic book for anyone who works with Symbolics Lisp Machines to have around. Unquestionably the ideal book to learn the system from and to learn the feel of programming in Genera. Users of other flavors of Lisp Machines may also find it helpful, although the book is unashamedly biased towards Symbolics systems.