Dear Reader,

Practical Common Lisp ... isn't that an oxymoron? If you're like most programmers, you probably know something about Lisp—from a comp sci course in college or from learning enough Elisp to customize Emacs a bit. Or maybe you just know someone who won't shut up about Lisp, the greatest language ever. But you probably never figured you'd see practical and Lisp in the same book title.

Yet, you're reading this; you must want to know more. Maybe you believe learning Lisp will make you a better programmer in any language. Or maybe you just want to know what those Lisp fanatics are yammering about all the time. Or maybe you have learned some Lisp but haven't quite made the leap to using it to write interesting software.

If any of those is true, this book is for you. Using Common Lisp, an ANSI standardized, industrial-strength dialect of Lisp, I show you how to write software that goes well beyond silly academic exercises or trivial editor customizations. And I show you how Lisp—even with many of its features adopted by other languages—still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

But unlike many Lisp books, this one doesn't just touch on a few of Lisp's greatest features and then leave you on your own to actually use them. I cover all the language features you'll need to write real programs and devote well over a third of the book to developing nontrivial software—a statistical spam filter, a library for parsing binary files, and a server for streaming MP3s over a network complete with an online MP3 database and Web interface.

So turn the book over, open it up, and see for yourself how eminently practical using the greatest language ever invented can be.


Peter Seibel

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