Can you use emacs to program in common lisp?

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During my course on lisp programming I used the lispworks IDE trial version, which is a very good IDE but it's still a trial version. I searched for a new IDE. And I saw this video

In which he uses slime sbcl and quicklisp to program in common lisp on emacs.

My question is how is that possible?Doesn't emacs come with it's own dialect of lisp which is known as Emacs lisp or are they separate from each other?


Setting up Emacs and SBCL can cost you some time. I highly recommend you portacle - so to say the newer/younger brother of lispbox. Lispbox is created for 'out of the box'-to go lisp environment using emacs with installed slime-mode readily connected with sbcl and quicklisp-installed (for readers of 'Practical Common Lisp' by Peter Seibel) - kind of emacs-set-up-for-Lisp (or batteries-included-emacs from the perspective of a Lisp-beginner-programmer). I was long searching for this "update" of Lispbox - though meanwhile installed sbcl and quicklisp and slime manually - Actually I think the Lispbox site should link and hint to portacle because this is the up-to-date version of Lispbox - it would have saved me time. The Lisp community should spread the words about portacle. (both provide you with ready-to-go emacs which then is connected to sbcl and also has quicklisp installed - quicklisp for Lisp is like pip for Python, a package manager by which you can pull and install Lisp packages from a central repository - or like melpa for emacs lisp). (quicklisp is in its core asdf, an old package manager, but nobody nowadays uses asdf to install packages directly, but does it via quicklisp).

For an easier entry to emacs which is very complex and I had also several attempts to get to used to it, I highly recommend you Derek Banas' video tutorial on emacs which is one of the best intro-level tutorial I found for this topic. Also his tutorial for common lisp might give you a good start.

The Common Lisp HyperSpec is helpful if you really begin to program in Lisp - it is a necessary tool, I would say - and also the Cookbook page for Lisp initiated by Edi Weitz and also his book with recipes for Common Lisp. However, since Lisp is very different from all the C-derived languages, I highly recommend you to begin with sth which explains you more what lisp is and how it works. A combination of Practical Common Lisp by Peter Seibel and Land of Lisp by Conrad Barski was the starter for me. But although the authors did really a great job, I think a easy-to-read and smooth intro for C-derived language programmer into Lisp is still to be written.

By the way, if you find vim easier to use, there is a nice way to use vim short-cuts in emacs - the evil mode - and even better and fantastic is Spacemacs which has in addition to vim shortcuts - their very specific way to access functions - mostly beginning with pressing the space-button (thus the name spacemacs). It is an open source project.

Unfortunately there is no Portacle-like batteries-included spacemacs for lisp novices. But maybe that is to be set up in near future by some of us :) . Spacemacs is fantastic!


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