Benefits of moving from Python to Common Lisp?

Chris Ryland cpr at emsoftware.com
Wed Nov 14 06:37:37 CET 2001


"Morten W. Petersen" <morten at thingamy.net> wrote in message news:<Pine.LNX.4.21.0111112022210.6922-100000 at bcryachts.atsat.com>...
> Hello,
> 
> I'm currently doing some research, to see if it could be an advantage to
> use Common Lisp instead of Python (currently Python and Zope [1] are used
> to build web applications).

You have to see <www.paulgraham.com/articles.html>, particularly the
"Beating the Averages" and "The Other Road Ahead".

I went back and forth with Paul a few times re: Lisp vs. Python, and
in the end the only really serious differences we could come up with
were (a) Lisp's universal (i.e., non-) syntax makes it easy to write
little languages and to use macros, and (b) Lisp compilers exist today
which produce quite a bit more efficient code than Python's
interpreter can do. [Forgive me, Paul, if I'm mis-remembering.]

(a) could be tackled, if someone were seriously inclined, by getting
the Python folks to agree on an intermediate Lisp-like syntax (lists),
and letting people use either the normal Python syntax or the
lower-level syntax, which would then admit of macros and "easy little
languages".

(b) is only a matter of time & will.

Of course, nothing is that simple, and there are huge reservoirs of
expertise in the Lisp community that the Python folks haven't tapped
into, and vice versa (though clearly less versa, since Python has only
been around for 10-ish years, and hasn't had the academic/research
following that Lisp has).

Just some random thoughts.

--Chris Ryland, Em Software



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