April 14, 2002
LispWorks Looking Good

Mike has been having a good experience so far evaluating LispWorks. Xanalys has been very responsive, already having sent us a patch to fix the behavior of :up in pathnames, and code to display function arguments on the fly. Looking good.

There is something a little strange to me about both those issues, though. How can we possibly be the first people to run into :up not working? As in, this code does not work:

(load (merge-pathnames 
       (make-pathname :directory '(:relative :up)
                      :name "foo"
                      :type "lisp")

But if you change :up to :back, it does work. Similarly with displaying function arguments on the fly, which seems like a very natural thing to want (ok, so ACL doesn't always do that either).

Part of what I like about lisp is that it usually feels very livable, and lived-in, compared to, say, Java. 40 years of experience have worn down the sharp edges in the language. And given us a body of tradition to help guide our programming. So it is slightly shocking to me when things that seem like they should be along well-worn paths turn out to be on the frontier.

Posted by jjwiseman at April 14, 2002 01:53 PM

You know, I've often wondered how bugs like this slip through the cracks for so long. For those keeping score at home, I think that's 2 bugs reported to Franz, 1 to the CMUCL guys, and 1 to Xanalys, just with respect to dealing with files! I can't help but think, "Has no one else done this?"

(Note: ACL gets more because that's been the primary development environment. I'm not picking on them more than anyone else.)

I posed to this Jim, and he responded by saying that most people don't try to take advantage of CL's file system independence. When you can just use namestrings and write for a particular OS, everything's fine. It's only freaks like us who actually want code to run on Windows, Linux, and MacOS that run into these problems.

Posted by: Michael Hannemann on April 17, 2002 09:51 AM

That may be. I guess it can be difficult to understand how to use lisp's pathname stuff in a nice, portable way (I was half expecting someone to comment on this post saying something like "You're doing it all wrong, it should be like this...!").

Posted by: jjwiseman on April 18, 2002 04:05 PM

I was hoping for that, actually. But maybe those in the know are tired of talking about things like that, and just thought I was trolling.

Posted by: Michael Hannemann on April 19, 2002 10:59 AM
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