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(Ed.) Thorsten Jolitz

PicoLisp Works

– References, Tutorials, Articles, Essays –

Version 1.01 August 26, 2012

1

Copyright

(c)

2012

Thorsten

Jolitz

Permission

is

granted

to

copy,

distribute

and/or

modify

this

document

under

or

with

Texts.

Free

the

terms

of

the

GNU

Free

Documentation

Free

Front-Cover

by

the

is

included

in

License,

the

Version

1.2

any

no

later

version

published

no

license

Software

Texts,

Foundation;

Invariant

of

A

Sections,

the

no

chapter

and

Back-Cover

entitled

copy

"GNU

Documentation

License".

”Perfection is attained not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away” (Antoine de Saint-Exup´ery)

Preface

PicoLisp Works 1 is a compilation of (almost) all available information about the technological gem PicoLisp - a programming language and environment that definitely deserves wider attention.

Built on the unique characteristics of Lisp (almost no syntax, code is equiv- alent to data), PicoLisp combines powerful abstractions with simplicity and purity.

In a software world that is driven by hypes and desillusions, a language like PicoLisp almost appears as timeless as mathematics. With its roots in the very beginning of programming language development (Lisp was, together with Fortran, among the very first of its kind), PicoLisp may well represent the future too – as a candidate for being the ”hundred-year language”, that all programming languages finally converge into.

As Paul Graham puts it in his famous essay 2 :

The hundred-year language could, in principle, be designed today, and such a language, if it existed, might be good to program in today.

This book consists of references, tutorials, articles and essays about PicoLisp. The reader should consider all documents written by Alexander Burger, the creator of PicoLisp, as the “official” references for the language. While the community tutorials and articles might be very helpful and a great source of information, they are just that - documents written by members of the PicoLisp community at various stages of “PicoLisp Enlightment”. When in doubt about substantive or style questions, always refer to the offcial docs as last instance.

1 The booktitle ’PicoLisp Works’ was contributed by Yiorgos Adamopoulos 2 Paul Graham: “The Hundred-Year Language” http://paulgraham.com/ hundred.html, 2003

VIII

Preface

One of the official articles, A Unifying Language for Database And User Inter- face Development, has been written as early as 2002 and is therefore slightly out of date in some technical details. It describes the old Java-Applet GUI that is not supported anymore. However, since the conceptual reasoning in this article is still valid and of fundamental importance, it was included in this book anyway.

PicoLisp Works is accompanied by a second volume, PicoLisp by Example, with more than 600 PicoLisp solutions to a wide range of programming tasks as well as the full PicoLisp function reference. Both volumes are freely avail- able as pdf files, e.g. on Scribd 3 4 . They are published under the GNU Free Documentation Licence, their source code is available in public Github repos- itories 5 6 .

Berlin, August 2012

Thorsten Jolitz

3 http://www.scribd.com/doc/103733857/PicoLisp-by-Example

4 http://www.scribd.com/doc/103732688/PicoLisp-Works

5 https://github.com/tj64/picolisp-works

6 https://github.com/tj64/picolisp-by-example

Contents

Part I Philosophy and Concepts of PicoLisp

1 A Radical Approach to Application Development

Alexander Burger

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1.1 Introduction

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1.2 A Radical Approach

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1.2.1

Myth

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1.2.2

Myth

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1.2.4

Myth

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Property

Server

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1.3 Application

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Locality

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Lisp

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1.4 Conclusion

 

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11

References

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12

A Unifying Language for Database And User Interface Development Alexander Burger

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2.1 Introduction

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2.2 Traditional DB

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2.3 A

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2.3.1 Object Architecture

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Database

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Relation

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Relation

Prefix

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Entity

Linkage

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Query

2.3.4 Language

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GUI

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+Obj

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X

Contents

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An Example

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2.5

Discussion

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2.6

Conclusion

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2.7

Download

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26

References

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26

Part II PicoLisp References

 

3

The PicoLisp Reference

 

Alexander Burger

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3.1 Introduction

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The

3.2 PicoLisp

Machine

 

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3.2.1

The Cell

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3.2.2

Data

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31

 

Numbers

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Symbols

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Lists

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3.2.3

Memory

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3.3 Programming Environment

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3.3.1 Installation

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3.3.2 Invocation

 

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3.3.3 Input/Output

 

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Numbers

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Read-Macros

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Evaluation

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