Introduction

If you are coming here, and plan to read this book, it is probably because you're doing some research, looking for a new language to learn.

You came to the right place.

Throughout this book you'll discover Lisp, the authentic Lisp lost for the last 25 years.

PicoLisp has everything that is needed for practical application development of today applications. It is ready, even considering how small and simple it is, to do fast, secure, elegant, and simple applications.

Whom is this book for?

You want to learn PicoLisp, and probably know other languages? PicoLisp was not intended to be newbie friendly, so this book might not be either.

Anyway, no profound programming experience is required. If you ever touched a dynamic language like Python, Perl, some Bash or even Scheme, it should be enough. If you knew Lisp, you'll be on steroids.

We'll try to be deep but clear, so we can be sure you understand the way PicoLisp is intended to be used, and to build applications rapidly. If you clearly understand what's under the hood in every moment, your experience with PicoLisp will explode. We hope you can learn and enjoy both PicoLisp and this book a lot!

Features

Picolisp has plenty of features, but none of them are designed to get in your way:

It is an interpreter only, there is no compilation

Everybody's is talking about how good are compilers and how bad are interpreters, right?

Well… not. Compilers are not always good, and interpreters are not always bad.

Compilers add overhead to the programmer's head up to the point that most of the writing and thinking is actually because trying to convince the compiler to understand your thoughts.
There was a time in which interpreters were loved and appreciated, and people only used compilers when really needed. But then, C++ and alikes appeared in the scene, and erased languages that were perfectly capable, whose only sin was being (slightly) slower.
That approach continues until today, that even scripting languages like Python and Perl are compiled.
Common Lisp also followed that trend.

What's good and bad about a compiler?

First of all, writing a compiler that behaves like an interpreter is a very difficult task. That's why the Common Lisp specification relax in some requirement about functions and data available in compilation time.

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