On Lisp, Vim, and a whole other bunch of stuff

I learned Lisp in my sophomore year in college, and back then I thought it was a cool language, but way too different from, well from pretty much everything else to be useful. Sometime later I came across a quip that described Lisp as the “programmable programming language”: for me it meant that my first impression on the language was right. Back then we used for Artificial Intelligence and since then, I stop programming in Lisp (for being way too busy with other projects). I have now finished my graduation, and I don’t remember exactly in what circumstances, but sometime ago I got back to Lisp programming. Looking back with hindsight, I guess the reason was that after my first encounter with Lisp, I learn a whole bunch of other languages and technologies, but somehow got disenchanted with them, and starting looking at Lisp from a whole new perspective. Moving along, in order to program you need an editor or IDE to write the code in. Back in the beginning, I used a certain widespread so-called operating system and for Lisp, our teachers told us to use a Lisp IDE from a company called Franz (I think). Since then a lot of things changed, and now my editor of choice is Vim, right along with its graphical counterpart, GVim. So when I went back to programming Lisp again, it was only natural to want to do so in Vim. And so I did. As it turns out, Vim, although more suited to other languages such as C and Python, also has great support for Lisp. But then I started reading about …. Emacs. It is written in Lisp, and so it is much more integrated not only with the language, but also with the development model: with Vim you write the code, and then go to the terminal, reload the file and test the changes. In Emacs, you don’t have to leave the editor… As I dug some more about Emacs, I got to understand that quip that says: “Emacs is a good operating system”. And them I learned about Slime, and of the possibility of having that same integration with other languages. So naturally I searched for the same for Vim.

And then I found this:

For many years I thought that the heretics of the Emacs clan [1] were clearly insane – the followers of Vim were obviously following the True Path. And then I was snared by the dark side.

I am (should I say was?) pretty gun-ho regarding Vim, but now the path is muddy. I guess for now I’ll stick to Vim, but that post really got me thinking…


3 responses to “On Lisp, Vim, and a whole other bunch of stuff

  1. Embora também goste do Vim e continue a utilizá-lo para diversas tarefas, programar em Lisp sem Emacs/SLIME ou semelhante é uma experiência bastante pobre. O problema é que o Vim, dizem, não é suficientemente extensível para se tornar num bom IDE para programação em Lisp. O que é certo é que esta imagem descreve com grande rigor a situação actual. 🙂

  2. Eu bem tentei aprender a usar o Emacs, mas quando comecei a fazer o tutorial, nem dez minutos tinham passado e já me doiam tanto os dedos (de andar sempre a carregar no Ctrl- para andar com o cursor pelo texto, que decidi não o tornar a usar.