Hi Alex,

On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 11:58 PM, Alexander Burger <a...@software-lab.de> wrote:
> Hi Ana,
>> i'm looking for a minimum list of functions to create a lisp
>> interpreter (like picolisp :). which ones to master to grok all of the
>> other functions that are built on top of the foundation functions?
> Well, this is a question quite often asked in other Lisp groups too.
> I think it is difficult to answer. If you look in Lisp books, you read
> that you need 'eval', 'apply', 'cons', 'car', 'cdr' and 'cond'. Then
> 'quote', 'set' (perhaps 'setq'), and some predicate functions like
> 'atom'. Arithmetic functions might also be useful.

true. this is where i'm starting. been years since i touched lisp and
i'm approaching it with a blank slate.

> But for a practical Lisp, you need also I/O functions, which usually
> take up the largest part of the interpreter. And the second largest part
> is taken by the Lisp execution itself (parameter and variable bindings,
> control transfer etc.)


> So the functions per se are not the problem. Most built-in functions in
> Lisp are quite simple, some even trivial. It is their interplay which
> makes up the system.
> Moreover, if you try to stay with an absolute minimal set of built-in
> functions, you'll see that the rest of the system will become both very
> slow and complicated (as many things are simpler to code in a
> lower-level language).
> PicoLisp was designed with such goals in mind (to be minimal in certain
> ways), but it tries to keep a balance between minimalism and pragmatism.
> Just my opinion ;-)

that's why i'm on *this* list! :)

> Tomas Hlavaty investigated that matter a bit deeper. Perhaps he can tell
> us more about his experiences?
> Cheers,
> - Alex
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