Lisp for the web


Adam Tornhill. Lisp for the Web. Leanpub. 2015.

A short, practical guide to build a dynamic web site entirely using Common Lisp. Makes extensive use of several libraries, including the intriguingly-named hunchentoot web server (named after a never-staged musical written by Frank Zappa), the CL-WHO HTML generator, and – perhaps most interesting – the Parenscript Lisp to Javascript compiler.

One gain from using Lisp is the ability to wrap-up standard constructions like page templates as macros. Other than this, it’s hard to assess whether the gains are all that significant. One interesting point is that the whole development occurs in Lisp, so there’s no cognitive dissonance between writing the back-end and the front-end: essentially the same argument for using node.js as a back-end framework. While Parenscript isn’t a fully-featured Lisp-in-the-browser it again can benefit from macros and other features. There’s a throwaway comment about linking it to jQuery, although that isn’t demonstrated in practice: it feels intriguing, though, especially if there’s a way to represent jQuery functionality idiomatically in Lisp.

(Part of the series An annotated Lisp bibliography.)