Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pico Lisp

In my continuing search for a language to play with, other than python, I came accross Pico Lisp the other day. A very intriguing lisp dialect for several reasons:
  • Fully interpreted and yet faster then compiled lisp in some usecases
  • Persistent storage (essentially an object database)
  • built in Prolog.
  • built in web server and support for online applications.
  • No floating point numbers ?
That last point seems a little curious. but then i got to thinking how many applications out there really need floating point numbers? Well there are really a lot of applications that don't. In my day job I deal with online payments. No floating point numbers here, just express things as cents and be done with it.

Using floating point in financial circles is in general a big no-no, people get a lttle tucky when your working with money and make rounding errors. Also its a little hard to do anything with a fraction of a cent.

Graphics. Well yes and no. Fixed precision might be quite good enough. Heck there's a 3d flight simulator application to prove it even. The Documentation claims it can be easily extended with C, including writing C functions inline, unfortunately exactly how this is done, or what the limitations are, is not explained. Once I get onto the mailing list I plan to ask.

First impressions are that this is a very small, neat and yet still useful language. Time will tell if I can do something interesting with it though.

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