Lisp (derives from “LISt Processing”) is one of the oldest programming languages. It was invented in 1958, with the language being conceived by John McCarthy and is based on his paper “Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine”. Over the years, Lisp has evolved into a family of programming languages. The most commonly used general-purpose dialects are Common Lisp and Scheme. Other dialects include Franz Lisp, Interlisp, Portable Standard Lisp, XLISP and Zetalisp.
The majority of Lisp implementations offer a lot more than just a programming language. They include an entire environment such as debuggers, inspectors, tracing, and other tools to add the Lisp developer. Lisp is a practical, expression-oriented, interactive programming language which uses linked lists as one of its major data structures. A Lisp list is written with its elements separated by whitespace, and surrounded by parentheses. Lisp source code is itself comprised of lists.
The language has many unique features that make it excellent to study programming constructs and data structures. Many regard Lisp as an extremely natural language to code complex symbolic reasoning programs. Lisp is popular in the fields of artificial intelligence and symbolic algebra.
Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Lisp. If you’re looking for free Lisp programming books, check here.
1. Common Lisp Quick Reference by Bert Burgemeister
Common Lisp Quick Reference is a free booklet with short descriptions of the thousand or so symbols defined in the ANSI standard. It comes with a comprehensive index.
2. Google Common Lisp Style Guide by Google
This guide recommends formatting and stylistic choices designed to make your code easier for other people to understand.
3. Common Lisp Koans by Stanley Bileschi
Common Lisp Koans is a language learning exercise in the same vein as the Ruby koans, Python koans and others. It is a port of the prior koans with some modifications to highlight Lisp-specific features.
4. Lisp Quickstart by Sean Luke
The goal of this tutorial is not to teach you many of those powerful features: rather it’s to teach you just enough of Lisp that you can get up and coding quickly if you have a previous background in a procedural language such as C or Java.
5. Learning Lisp for CMPT 310 by Philip Fong
The tutorials cover basic LISP programming, advanced functional programming in LISP, data abstraction in LISP, and imperative programming in LISP.
6. Common Lisp Tutorial by Sadi Evren Seker
This tutorial covers symbols, numbers, conses, lists, functions, printing, forms and the top-level loop. It then moves on to look at special forms, binding, dynamic scoping, arrays, strings, structures, setf, booleans and conditionals, iteration, and more.
All tutorials in this series:
|Free Programming Tutorials|
|Java||General-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language|
|C||General-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language|
|Python||General-purpose, structured, powerful language|
|C++||General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language|
|C#||Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic|
|PHP||PHP has been at the helm of the web for many years|
|Ruby||General purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language|
|Assembly||As close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal|
|Swift||Powerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language|
|Groovy||Powerful, optionally typed and dynamic language|
|Go||Compiled, statically typed programming language|
|Pascal||Imperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s|
|Perl||High-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language|
|R||De facto standard among statisticians and data analysts|
|COBOL||Common Business-Oriented Language|
|Scala||Modern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language|
|Fortran||The first high-level language, using the first compiler|
|Scratch||Visual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children|
|Lua||Designed as an embeddable scripting language|
|Logo||Dialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility|
|Rust||Ideal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code|
|Lisp||Unique features - excellent to study programming constructs|
|Ada||ALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and others|
|Haskell||Standardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language|
|Scheme||General-purpose, functional, language descended from Lisp and Algol|
|Prolog||General purpose, declarative, logic programming language|
|Forth||Imperative stack-based programming language|
|Clojure||Dialect of the Lisp programming language|
|Julia||High-level, high-performance language for technical computing|
|SQL||Access and manipulate data held in a relational database management system|
|Erlang||General-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language|
|VimL||Powerful scripting language of the Vim editor|
|OCaml||General-purpose, powerful, high-level language|
|Awk||Versatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing|
|Racket||Platform for programming language design and implementation|
|BASIC||Family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages|
|LaTeX||Professional document preparation system and document markup language|
|Elixir||Relatively new functional language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine|
|Dart||Client-optimized programming language for fast apps|
|ABAP||Advanced Business Application Programming|
|F#||General purpose, strongly typed, multi-paradigm language. Part of ML|
|Chapel||Parallel-programming language in development at Cray Inc.|
|Dylan||Multi-paradigm language, supports functional & object-oriented programming|
|D||General-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax|
|Solidity||Object-oriented, high-level language for implementing smart contracts|
|XML||Set of rules for defining semantic tags that describe the structure and meaning|
|Vala||Object-oriented language with a self-hosting compiler that generates C code|
|ECMAScript||Best known as the language embedded in web browsers|
|Kotlin||Statically typed, general-purpose programming language with type inference|
|Markdown||Plain text formatting syntax designed to be easy-to-read and easy-to-write|
|Pike||Interpreted, general-purpose, high-level, cross-platform, dynamic language|
|HTML||HyperText Markup Language|
|Factor||Dynamic stack-based language|
|Objective-C||General purpose language which is a superset of C|
|Standard ML||One of the two main dialects of the ML language|
|Alice||Educational language with an integrated development environment|
|Agda||Dependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic type theory|
|Icon||High-level, general-purpose language|
|PureScript||Small strongly, statically typed language with expressive types|
|Tcl||Dynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells|