November 4th, 2004

(no subject)

(I am going to play Bill Clementson for one post.)

Tait Stevens started an interesting thread on comp.lang.lisp titled Practical Lisp: What are you working on, really?:

I'm a Lisp newbie, and having fun learning how things work. I've been reading the newsgroups for a couple of months, but haven't gotten a great impresssion of what people are *actually* using Lisp for.

I'd go first, but have no active project.

Any takers for the question "What are you doing in Lisp, right now?"

That triggered several replies from people who are using Common Lisp for commercial, educational, and hobby projects.

  • Wade Humeniuk: "Writing a Telephony Based Appointment Confirmation System for a group of Ear/Nose/Throat Doctors. I am working with Dave Bakhash (PortusGroup)."
  • Dave Bakhash: "I should add that we just completed a massive email-to-voice gateway for a company currently specializing in email-to-fax gateway services. It was a combination of a Lisp engine, alongside several Perl scripts which elegantly handle email-related routines."
  • drewc: "Currently i'm writing a web platform for developing Database front-ends (CRUD). It is my first large project (non-toy) in lisp, and i'm loving it. [...] What this gets me is a complete basic CRUD screen with roughly 2 lines of code (connect to database, generate classes). Then it's simply a matter of specifiying the methods on my new classes to change the default behavior. I can then whip up a quick data driven web app in a few short hours of coding."
  • mikel evins: "A code-walker for the commercial product produced by my employer. It walks the full source code of the product (which is written in 5 programming languages), finds every bit of code that emits any text to the Linux system logging facility, parses out the messages, fnids references to variables and constants and substitutes their values, and writes a nicely-formatted report in which all the messages are sorted according to logging level."
  • Edi Weitz: "Another web application which gathers data from surveys done by pharma companies and produces up-to-date graphical output of the current results for the client. The data is uploaded as CSV data and the graphical output can be modified by the guy who coordinates the surveys with a simple Lispy configuration file - he's not a programmer himself. These are static pages created by a cron job using CL-GD and CL-WHO."
  • Peter Seibel: "Right now I'm working on a book about Common Lisp. That has involved writing code to: filter spam, parse binary data in general, parse ID3 tags from MP3 files, organize the data so parsed into a queryable in-memory database, stream MP3s to MP3 clients such as iTunes, XMMS, and Winamp using the Shoutcast server, programatically generate HTML, and put the last four together into a web interface for the Shoutcast server and MP3 database."
  • Sashank Varma: "For money: I'm writing, in Common Lisp, a programming language for writing models of human cognition. Been doing this kind of work for over a decade."
  • Alex Peake: "I am continuing to evolve a system that generates business applications for .NET in C#. It is like a domain specific language with an underlying framework. (It could easily generate Java or other languages.) We have been using it in its evolving state for about 5 years now and it is giving us about a 10-1 productivity gain in the initial development. Since the generated code is (now) essentially bug free, this also saves LOTS of time. And it is MUCH easier to evolve programs too - more savings."
  • Ingvar: "Taking network log data and munging it around (I actually started using python, but it just wasn't fast enough; the library that extracts log entries has been posted to the small-cl-src list). Main reason we're using lisp instead of C is that it's (a) faster writing lisp code and (b) far less painful changing implementation around when a deficiency is spotted."

Personally, I've been working on a website to help my father-in-law sell fishing lures. In my spare time I've also worked on programs to generate flash and process TrueType files. After seeing all the amazing Flash cartographic applications on display this election, I'd like to get my act together and write a library for generating GIS-related flash visualizations.