Thursday, November 11, 2010

Land of Lisp book review

Land of Lisp is an intermediate-level book that teaches Lisp by way of game programming. Interspersed with light-hearted illustrations, LoL is a real page-turner and is one of the most interesting programming books I've read. Important Lisp concepts such as macros, higher order functions and generic programming are clearly explained. One whole chapter is devoted to Lisp being applied to Domain Specific Languages, which is highly applicable and relevant to modern web programming. Along the way, the author also teaches fundamental concepts such as recursion (although not as much emphasis on this as compared to Scheme, for example), code reuse (the "Don't Repeat Yourself" principle), functional programming, closures, basic algorithms like MiniMax, depth-first search and a whole lot more.

Because the author assumes the reader has a basic grasp of his operating environment, setting up a Common Lisp implementation (editor/compiler) is not covered in detail. If that idea is too daunting for you, then you may wish to refer to the beginning chapters of Peter Seibel's Practical Common Lisp or David Lamkin's Successful Lisp as a starting point and come back to LoL when you're more comfortable with how things work.

All in all, I would say, "buy this book!". Highly recommended.

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