LISP - My Personal NBL

November 23, 2007

Practical Common Ruby

In the not to distant past I considered myself a "Java" programmer. For my job, I programmed in Java, although I knew and used some other languages to varying degrees, including Perl, PHP, Python and JavaScript. I started to learn Ruby due to all the hype Rails was getting. I really liked Ruby and now program in Ruby almost exclusively, so I suppose I can drop the "Java" from my informal title. I don't think I'll ever call myself a "Ruby" programmer because one of the many things I have learned while learning Ruby is that learning different languages makes you a better programmer in general. You learn new techniques that you can apply to programming in almost any language.

So throughout my career I expect to continue learn other languages. A few that are on my horizon for now are Smalltalk, C/C++, Haskell, Erlang and maybe dive a bit deeper into Python, but for now those are all on the back burner. A few years ago I was programming in Java in my day job and learning Ruby in my spare time. Now I'm programming in Ruby in my day job and learning Lisp in my spare time.

There are several reason for wanting to learn Lisp, but I would say Paul Graham is definitely at the top of that list. I read his book Hackers and Painters and I suggest you do as well. The book is actually a collection of essays, most of which you can read online:

  1. Why Nerds Are Unpopular
  2. Hackers and Painter
  3. What You Can't Say
  4. Good Bad Attitude
  5. The Other Road Ahead
  6. How to Make Wealth
  7. Mind the Gap
  8. A Plan for Spam
  9. Taste for Makers
  10. Programming Languages Explained
  11. The Hundred-Year Language
  12. Beating the Averages
  13. Revenge of the Nerds
  14. The Dream Language
  15. Design and Research

It looks like there are some good free online resources for learning Lisp. I'm gonna start with Practical Common Lisp, and I've also been going through Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. It is a computer programming course that is available online. The book is here and videos of the lectures are here.

Posted in Technology | Tags Lisp

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