Dumbing down... 
Author Message
 Dumbing down...

It seems many of us agree that using Scheme and SICP to teach programming
should result in better programmers.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

In my original post I raised the issue about the dearth of well-known
applications written using Lisp dialects, including Scheme, especially
in comparison with Windows-based applications.  Did I miss the mark on
that observation?  It seems to me that if there were more well-known
applications out there, a la Linux and Gnu, there would be greater demand
for programmers with extensive Lisp experience.

Feel free to flame away if it makes you happy.



Sun, 17 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...

Quote:

> In my original post I raised the issue about the dearth of well-known
> applications written using Lisp dialects, including Scheme, especially
> in comparison with Windows-based applications.  Did I miss the mark on
> that observation?  It seems to me that if there were more well-known
> applications out there, a la Linux and Gnu, there would be greater demand
> for programmers with extensive Lisp experience.

I don't know about Windows based applications but Yahoo Store, Emacs,
Autocad, Interleaf are some examples of either Lisp based applications
or applications with a large and important Lisp component.

Another point is that the demand for Lisp programmers may be greater
than you think but that it doesn't appear very often in the large
adverti{*filter*}ts. Lisp jobs seem to get advertised by rather informal
circuits, propably because it is a specific niche.

--

If there are aliens, they play Go. -- Lasker



Sun, 17 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...
Flame on

Speaking as an 'old timer' (relatively speaking), I know of many fine
software applications that were written in LISP during the 1980's and
1990's. I worked at the MIT AI Lab during the 80's and BBN AI Lab for ten
years after that. We wrote lots of LISP code. We wrote lots of good
applications, too. Unfortunately, the 'public' perception, combined with the
LISP programming community's aloofness and failure to accept the
'bottom-line' mindset of that period, conspired to bring us to where we are
today. Scientific merit is irrelevant; the client wants pretty pictures and
nothing too demanding.

By the way, for the last six years or so I've written lots of Windows
applications: COM, MTS, etc. I don't, for one minute, believe that many
Windoze applications are superior to many graduate student final projects,
written in LISP, Scheme, Smalltalk, etc. I don't consider re-introducing
interfaces as a grand step forward in programming language semantics.
Especially as they forgot the state model.

Flame off.


Quote:

> > In my original post I raised the issue about the dearth of well-known
> > applications written using Lisp dialects, including Scheme, especially
> > in comparison with Windows-based applications.  Did I miss the mark on
> > that observation?  It seems to me that if there were more well-known
> > applications out there, a la Linux and Gnu, there would be greater
demand
> > for programmers with extensive Lisp experience.

> I don't know about Windows based applications but Yahoo Store, Emacs,
> Autocad, Interleaf are some examples of either Lisp based applications
> or applications with a large and important Lisp component.

> Another point is that the demand for Lisp programmers may be greater
> than you think but that it doesn't appear very often in the large
> adverti{*filter*}ts. Lisp jobs seem to get advertised by rather informal
> circuits, propably because it is a specific niche.

> --

> If there are aliens, they play Go. -- Lasker



Sun, 17 Mar 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...
Enoll? - sorry your name doesn't appear on your post.....

Even though I am no expert, more a relative newcomer, really, there are
several examples I can give you...
1)
AutoCAD - the biggest and most "industry standard" CAD pacage uses a LISP for
its automation - why? because graphics are very elegantly handled in LISP.
2)
GIMP - an exceptional graphics program running under GNU/LINUX written, I
believe, is written in Scheme.
3)
In fact since you mention GNU/Linux you should be familiar with the enormous
influence of LISP on this environment, including all the various
customisation languages for applications - Guile, a Scheme derivative is
currently very strong.  Think of it as a VBA+++ for GNU/Linux.
4)
Emacs, one of the world's most popular - if not the most popular  - editor,
written and cusomisable in LISP.  Compare its speed, efficiency, and
especially its customisability with any Microsoft behemoth.
5)
Derive, the symbolic mathematical program, small and elegant enough to fit
into Texas Instruments TI-92 calculators, but also on PCs - written in LISP.
The programming language of Hewlett-Packard calculators is also LISP as this
is best suited for describing mathematical functions.  In use by engineers
around the world on a daily basis.
6)
Erlang, a pure functional language, used by Ericsson on its European
real-time phone switching networks (perhaps in the US as well??) - a massive
project.
7)
Have a look around, you may well be surprised at what else you'll find....

In fact, I would go as far as to say that the whole evolution of C, C++ has
been to make them as LISP like as possible, so that they can be as useful as
possible!  When C first came out, one of its distinguishing features was that
it supported recursion, and thus could do LISt Processing.  When C++ came out
everyone rushed out to make good container libraries, so that they could
write programs simply, without the administrative overhead, just like in
interactive LISP-like environments.  In Bjarne Stroustrup's third edition of
C++, he stresses the importance of the use of STL.  I suggest that STL will
be almost immediately accessible to any LISP programmer, whereas I have found
that C++ programmers in the industry, especiallly where it is windoze
realted, are resistant to, or totally ignorant of STL, thus compromising
their own C++ programming.

In my view LISP programming definitely makes you a better C++ programmer.

Best Regards

Alex
Bristol, UK

Quote:

> It seems many of us agree that using Scheme and SICP to teach programming
> should result in better programmers.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

> In my original post I raised the issue about the dearth of well-known
> applications written using Lisp dialects, including Scheme, especially
> in comparison with Windows-based applications.  Did I miss the mark on
> that observation?  It seems to me that if there were more well-known
> applications out there, a la Linux and Gnu, there would be greater demand
> for programmers with extensive Lisp experience.

> Feel free to flame away if it makes you happy.



Fri, 19 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...
Quote:

>2)
>GIMP - an exceptional graphics program running under GNU/LINUX written, I
>believe, is written in Scheme.

The GIMP is not written in Scheme. It uses SIOD, which is like scheme
except it lacks a bunch of things, for an extension language
(script-fu) . I think they intend to migrate to guile at some point,
though.

Quote:
>4)
>Emacs, one of the world's most popular - if not the most popular  - editor,
>written and cusomisable in LISP.  Compare its speed, efficiency, and
>especially its customisability with any Microsoft behemoth.

Speed and efficiency are not the strong side of the emacsen. They are
badly in need of better lisp engines. Customisability, now, that they
have in abundance.

--


http://www-und.ida.liu.se/~patno092
Phone: +46-(0)13-4739006
snail mail: Rydsvagen 48C, 584 31 Linkoping, Sweden



Fri, 19 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...

Quote:

> In fact, I would go as far as to say that the whole evolution of C,
> C++ has been to make them as LISP like as possible, so that they can
> be as useful as possible!

I think usefullness is a pretty universal goal for language designers.

Quote:
> When C++ came out everyone rushed out to make good container
> libraries, so that they could write programs simply, without the
> administrative overhead, just like in interactive LISP-like
> environments.

Writing programs simply is sort of the holy grail, no?  

To quote Kernighan and Pike in "The Practice of Programming":

  There is always a gap between what we want to say to the computer
  ("solve my problem") and what we are required to say to get a job
  done.  The narrower this gap, the better.

Ciao,
--
David N. Welton            (    Circa mea pectora

http://www.efn.org/~davidw (    de tua pulchritudine
debian.org + prosa.it      )    que me ledunt misere



Fri, 19 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...
Patrik

Quote:
> The GIMP is not written in Scheme. It uses SIOD, which is like scheme
> except it lacks a bunch of things, for an extension language
> (script-fu) . I think they intend to migrate to guile at some point,
> though.

My apologies; I got this mistaken impression from a line on the Schemers.org page:
"I would like to compile a list of Scheme ``success stories'', such as DSSSL and
GIMP."
I did think, at the time, that Scheme would be great for prototyping a graphics
package, but I did wonder how they managed to compile it so that it was fast
enough... So what is it written in? C++?

Quote:
> Speed and efficiency are not the strong side of the emacsen. They are
> badly in need of better lisp engines. Customisability, now, that they
> have in abundance.

Hm,  you are quite right of course, if we are to be precise... however, I have seen
several "commercial" editors running under Windoze that search text slower than my
version of XEmacs.

Regards

Alex



Sun, 21 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...
Quote:

>My apologies; I got this mistaken impression from a line on the
>Schemers.org page: "I would like to compile a list of Scheme ``success
>stories'', such as DSSSL and GIMP."  I did think, at the time, that
>Scheme would be great for prototyping a graphics package, but I did
>wonder how they managed to compile it so that it was fast enough... So
>what is it written in? C++?

Plain old C. However, a lot of the cool stuff in Gimp is written in
SIOD with script-fu, so it's not at all unfair to call it a scheme
success story.

Quote:
>Hm, you are quite right of course, if we are to be precise... however,
>I have seen several "commercial" editors running under Windoze that
>search text slower than my version of XEmacs.

I wouldn't know, I used emacs even when I was still using Windows. :)

--

http://www-und.ida.liu.se/~patno092
Phone: +46-(0)13-176664 Cell Phone: +46-(0)70-2361075
snail mail: Rydsvagen 48C, 584 31 Linkoping, Sweden



Sun, 21 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...

Quote:

> Patrik

> > The GIMP is not written in Scheme. It uses SIOD, which is like scheme
> > except it lacks a bunch of things,

SIOD stands for Scheme In One Defun.  To say it is Scheme might be
misleading, because some things are missing, but to say it is not Scheme
is also misleading.

--

Programmer in Chief, Free Computer Shop <http://www.free-comp-shop.com>
         ---  Food, Shelter, Source code.  ---



Sun, 21 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Dumbing down...

+---------------
| > > The GIMP is not written in Scheme. It uses SIOD, which is like scheme
| > > except it lacks a bunch of things,
|
| SIOD stands for Scheme In One Defun.  To say it is Scheme might be
| misleading, because some things are missing, but to say it is not Scheme
| is also misleading.
+---------------

I agree. SIOD is roughly at the level of R3RS...  [3, not 4 or 5]

-Rob

-----

Applied Networking              http://reality.sgi.com/rpw3/
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Tue, 23 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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