Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Lisp and Ruby

I recently came across Paul Graham's essay, Beating the Averages where he talks glowingly about Lisp.  It piqued my interest in this language.  Another language I've been toying with learning is Ruby.  Lisp is compiled (at least it can be) and Ruby is purely interpreted.  Lisp is reportedly very powerful but the community is small.  Ruby is popular but has a lot of rough edges.  Both have many interesting language elements.  Which one to learn?  While reading some articles on Lisp, I ran across two really good articles comparing the two.  I thought I'd share them with you:

Power vs. Popularity

Why Ruby is an Acceptable Lisp

Make sure to read the comments.  Most of the meat is in there.

If you have thoughts about which language I should pursue, leave them in the comments.

2/7 Update:  See for a list of articles on this subject.


  1. I recently looked at LSharp, which is a .NET based LISP based on Arc dialect (as suggested by Paul Graham). I fell in love with it, though I cant say I would use it general purpose coding, but makes an excellent scripting environment, especially within applications.

    See blog for some usage/samples. :)

  2. "Which one to learn?"

    Why not both? After you know how to program you can pick up 80% of a new language in a day, and you'd be in a much better position to evaluate the differences.

    Having just learned Ruby, and liking it much better than Python, I'm considering learning Lisp just for the academic reasons.