Feeds

Web pioneer hits critics with Lisp gauntlet

Higher-level challenge

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Maverick programmer and venture capitalist Paul Graham is challenging all comers to beat him after finally releasing a working version of his Lisp update – called Arc.

Best known for his pioneering early 1990s work on web development and spam filters, Graham announced in 2001 he was working on an economic version of Lisp, one of the oldest languages still in regular use for production systems - with Cobol and Fortran - that’s used in artificial intelligence programming and considered something for “serious” developers.

9/11, the dot-com bust, Katrina… a whole lot's happened since Graham's pledge, but people have hung on in eager anticipation of his work.

After seven years' work, though, Graham has delivered what's being considered an incomplete version of Arc. Apparently Graham decided now is the time to get Arc out into the world in the form of a compiler that generates MzScheme code.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction has been mixed with some applauding how Arc strips the Lisp language down to its bare essentials. But other commentators have expressed disappointment. One view says Arc is merely an extension to Lisp - an extendable language - so its not really new at all. Another view is that Arc is only a thin layer (and not the right one) on top of the Lisp dialect Scheme.

Graham has now thrown down the gauntlet to supporters of other programming languages, challenging them to come up with a shorter version of an Arc code example to read and display a field on a web page. Graham said he doesn't usually refute criticisms directly but would this time as the main complaint is: “That I don't seem to have had to work hard enough writing it.”

Not surprisingly the challenge has met with a broad response. A Smalltalk solution using Seaside claims both to be shorter and easier to understand.

Despite the negative comment, Arc seems to be generating excitement among programming language enthusiasts and has already been ported to Javascript. Arc is also supported under the Eclipse-based IDE Schemescript

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
HANA has SAP cuddling up to 'smaller partners'
Wanted: algorithm wranglers, not systems giants
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.