Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Monday, March 27, 2006

Lisp for Entrepreneurs

Yet another Lisp is for Entrepreneurs link -- this one from Bill Clementson. Programming languages are converging on Lisp, so I'm bypassing the deep dive on Ruby...

I've gone deep on Lisp recently and I have to tell you: maybe I'm not smart enough to be a Lisp programmer, at least soon enough. I've written a functioning, and reasonably complex, program (a Gibbs sampler for a Bayesian network) but I can hardly read the thing. It's all (car(cdr(assoc('xxx ...)))) ...that design is nobody's fault but my own, but it's just the path of least resistance as I'm writing the thing. I have begun to see a few glimmers of possibilities I don't have in other languages. I've written a macro, and I get it. I've passed lambdas to functions. This code is a a lot terser than a Java version I wrote years ago. Terse is good, right? But I have to comment the code more extensively because it's not really "self describing."

Maybe I'm the sort of weak-natured guy who needs an early-binding language enforcing the discipline up front. 'Cause I have to admit, strong typing makes me write better programs. It's a character flaw.

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