- Hardcover: 534 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 28, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521562473
- ISBN-13: 978-0521562478
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,635,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lisp in Small Pieces
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and even oldtimers as Cobol and Fortran tend to develop, or rather mature, into languages getting closer and closer to Lisp, Algol, and their ultimate offspring, Scheme.
This is not without reason.
But although the many qualities of Lisp have long since been known in academia, they need time and, more important, good reference material, to find their way into the real world.
Lisp programmers know the value of everything, but the cost of nothing, it is said. Christian Queinnec neatly fills the gap in our knowledge in a book that is a hard read because of the density of the content, but also a fun book because all the source is there (available through the Internet, of course) to experiment with.
You will not only gain insight into the workings of your Lisp system. You will gain insight into the basic elements of computer programming languages and their reason for being, their implementation, and the benefits and costs they will bring you.
All in all, one of the best books on Lisp I have ever almost, but not completely grokked.
I sincerely believe that tomorrow's programming languages, whether they be called C** or Delphi 2010, will be closer to current Lisp than to current C or Pascal, and a way to efficiently implement these languages is available here and now.
The book covers all standard material like direct interpretation, compilation towards a virtual machine using bytecodes, and compilation to C. New material is found in the chapter on macro's , a subject that has regained much interest of late. A broad variety of programming styles is used to illustrate all concepts.
There is only one drawback to the book. It won't teach you Lisp, or Scheme. That is, unless you already know it.
In it, Quinniec covers a variety of different approaches to interpretation and compilation. Typically, an idea is presented with a chapter discussing the issues related to it -- then in the following chapter, a compiler or interpreter that implements it correctly. He covers compilation to C, compilation to bytecodes, direct interpretation, token-reduced interpretation, denotational semantics, lambda-calculus, continuations, macros, and an object system. It's well-written and engaging, and unlike some translations, the English is handled very well. The primary language being considered (and used) is Scheme -- arguably the easiest LISP dialect to implement and the hardest to implement well.
Queinnec explains from the basics of Lisp implementation (evaluation of S-expressions) to techniques for compiling into C. You will find very good advice on how to implement macros, continuations and higher-order functions. If you want to implement Lisp, Scheme or any other language actually, buy this book!
Besides being an excellent technical text, the book is also a great pleasure to read, because of Queinnec's writing style.
Also, there are exercises -- with answers! :-)
If you're interested in implementation choices for Scheme and the Lisp family of languages, this is an amazing book. Its worth reading even if you never plan to implement a Lisp interpreter and just want to learn a bit of theory and history behind these languages.
I would caution you that this shouldn't be a first book on language implementation. I couldn't enumerate off hand, all of the documents that I've read on the topic - including quite a few that were Lisp specific - and I'd rank this one pretty in terms of difficulty. But the great thing is that the author is methodical about incrementally introducing and explaining the features. That still requires a lot of rumination from me to build the necessary framework inside of my skull.
This book is an exact copy of the hardback, although the number of pages differs. Amazon is now counting the sides of all pages in the PDF/physical book, which isn't the way pages in books are usually counted.
There is a second edition of this book published January 2007, but it is only avaiable in French, published by Paracamplus and available from lmet.fr. They seem to be the only distributor.
Auteur(s) : QUEINNEC
Editeur : PARACAMPLUS
Parution : 01/2007
Langue : Francais
Nbre de pages : 484
ISBN : 9782916466033
Reliure : Paperback
Prix : 38.00 ttc
Disponibilité : En stock. Livraison sous 24h
While this book may seem expensive, absorbing even a portion will improve you coding techniques.
Good book, good price, seller is A++++++++++
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