Thoughts on AutoLisp?

Daniel C. dcrookston at
Thu Feb 15 09:44:07 MST 2007

Okay, I don't know a thing about AutoLisp except what I just read in
your email.  That and a girl I used to date had a cousin who used it
for her work, and she called AutoLisp scripts (is that what you call
them?) "Lisps".  "Someone  made me a lisp that..."

Anyway.  I'm guessing that AutoLisp is similar to Ruby on Rails in
that it's a domain-specific Lisp dialect, similar to Common Lisp only
with a bunch of extras.  So what I'd do to tackle it is learn Common
Lisp first.

I'd recommend starting with Practical Common Lisp by Peter Seibel,
which has a free online version at  When you're
done reading that, you should of course purchase a physical copy,
because the guy who wrote it is cool and should get paid for the work
he did.

Then there's ANSI Common Lisp by Paul Graham, and (if you feel like
going the extra mile and/or frying your brain), there's On Lisp by the
same guy.

Seibel does great up until he gets into CLOS (Common Lisp Object
System) at which point he lost me.  So I switched back to Graham for
that part.  Graham is good at giving concise explanations for things,
but he moves fast.  Seibel is more verbose, better at putting things
in layman's terms, but doesn't give exercises, which is a huge thing
for me.

Anyway, having a handle on common lisp should help with AutoLisp.  Oh,
and I just googled AutoLisp - apparently it doesn't have macros, which
means you should be able to skip On Lisp (an entire book on macros)
and the more confusing parts of the macro chapters in the other books.

Hope that helps,

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