Hello, World!

Welcome to lisp-lang.org, the new home of Common Lisp on the web.

Previously, if someone wanted to learn Common Lisp, the language, their best bet was Peter Seibel’s Practical Common Lisp. But the book, written in 2005, doesn’t cover setting up a modern Common Lisp environment: tools like Quicklisp and Quickdocs are more recent inventions.

Learning how to write ASDF systems (think package.json), how a library should be structured, where to find documentation (the answer is Quickdocs), all of that information is spread across dozens of tutorials, manuals and blog posts across different websites.

Languages created by a single person or a small group, around which a community accretes, tend to do better here: Python, Ruby and Scala all have websites that provide all of these resources. Languages created by commitees, like JavaScript or Common Lisp or C, rarely have official websites.


The goal of lisp-lang.org is to lower the barrier to entry to Common Lisp: provide a central location to both advertise Common Lisp, and provide all the information prospective users need to become productive with it, without having to collect it from different sites and blogs, and without falling into choice paralysis. ‘Productive’ means going beyond teaching users about lists and macros, and including information on how to write libraries, unit-test them, use CI and code coverage, and publish them to Quicklisp.

Currently we have tutorials, a style guide, a showcase of success stories, and a collection of Lisp books.

In the future, there’ll be a wiki, and a better-looking version of the CLHS (generated from the TeX sources). Maybe a forum (all written in Lisp, of course) if the community demands it, but currently people seem to be fine with Reddit and IRC.

So, in short: centralize a vast amount of distributed information, lower friction, and point people in the right direction. “Just use SBCL” instead of “here’s fifty implementations you can choose from, good luck”.

The Logo

Languages have to have logos. Not just to associate them with easily remembered images, but because the logo is often use to identify the language in lieu of words.

Stripe, for example, uses logos to identify languages when advertising integrations:

Stripe integration

Because Common Lisp was created by a group of organizations, it never got an ‘official’ logo. As a result, there are basically three logos in use in the wild: endless variants of the letter lambda, the Lisp salamander, and the Lisp alien.

But logos have to be beautiful and simple, so they are easily remembered. These don’t necessarily fit these criteria. So we’ve created this as an alternative:

new logo

Prior Art

The two websites that come close to this project are common-lisp.net and Cliki. The former is primarily a GitLab-based hosting service for Common Lisp projects, but the landing page contains a brief description of the language, plus links to tutorials and the like.

Cliki, the Common Lisp wiki, was written at a time when the web was a very different place, and is starting to show its age.

And the CLHS is under Lispworks’ copyright, so it can’t be improved by the community. Because of that, an open-source alternative with generated from the specification sources, that people can easily fork, edit, and update, is needed.