Quicklisp

After being inspired to finally start using ELPA to handle my Emacs packages, I decided to try out Zach Beane's Quicklisp library manager for Common Lisp. Up until now, I've been using the manual method to get things into ASDF, a process that can be painful.

I haven't had a lot of time to play around with it yet so this isn't really a review but so far I'm pretty impressed. The first indication of quality was how easy the installation is. You just download the quicklisp.lisp file from the Quicklisp site and load it into whatever CL system you're using. Quicklisp asks you to run (quicklisp-quicklisp:install) and it takes care of fetching the code and associated files, and building the necessary directories to hold everything. The process is reminiscent of the ELPA install: you just run a small piece of code and it does the rest.

If you think you might be interested in Quicklisp, Beane has a nice screencast that shows how it works and what it does. In the screencast he shows it working with SBCL, LispWorks, Clisp, and ECL. The installation and use are the same regardless of platform.

The nice thing about Quicklisp is that it makes it easy to load load libraries and keep them up to date. In the past, I sometimes hesitated to get a library because I knew it was going to be a lot of work. With Quicklisp, all I have to do is run (ql:quickload "some-library") and Quicklisp fetches the library and compiles it for me. It's hard to see how it could be much easier.

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