RE: Lisp, the secret weapon.

From: Gavin Thomas Nicol (
Date: Sat Apr 28 2001 - 18:59:33 PDT

> Why'd you roll your own instead of using Winterp? I mean sure,
> everybody who gets into Lisp has to write their own interpreter at
> some point (I know I did) but...

That's why :-) Seriously, I had to put in some things for handling
the distributed nature of the system (the system had something similar
to capabilities where closures and continuations were secured, and
where a small amount static analysis was performed before execution).

Also, I like writing parsers, compilers and interpreters... kind of
a hobby of mine. I even wrote my own small FORTRAN compiler once...
which must mean I'm certifiably insane ;-)

> David Betz kicked total ass. Wonder whatever happened to him?

Last I heard he was working on Dylan after having created Bob
(which was buggy as anything, from memory). Don't know from

> Worked by sending little verifiable Lisp (Scheme, really) chunks
> (really, just datastructures) back and forth via e-mail, slurping
> them into an interpreter / engine / server and then turning them
> into appropriate transactions on the system. Now that you mention
> it, yeah, very XMLish.

Sounds very similar to what I was doing. This is SOAP/XML-RPC with
parens! The fact that you can treat data as code, and code as data,
is a thing of beauty. I think that, and functional programming, certainly
changed my view of the world.

I used to give talks evangelizing SGML/XML where I'd use YACC to show
that DTD's weren't anything special, and scheme to show that XML syntax
wasn't so cool either... before really talking about why people
should use it. It was kind of amusing...

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