Thoughts on AutoLisp?

Levi Pearson levi at
Thu Feb 15 10:00:13 MST 2007

Steve <smorrey at> writes:
> Eitherway I'm now interested in learning Lisp in general but
> specifically AutoLisp, and I'ld like a nudge in the right direction,
> books, user groups, crash courses etc.  Also if humanly possibly I'ld
> like to find an AutoLisp interpreter/compiler/VM whatever that runs in
> Linux.
> Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

AutoLISP is a derivative of a very early XLisp, which has been defunct
itself for quite some time.  AutoLISP and elisp (the Lisp in emacs)
are pretty much the only commonly used holdovers from the old
pre-Scheme Lisp days.  Old Lisps were dynamically scoped, while Scheme
introduced practical techniques for using Algol 60's static block
scope in Lisp and proved it superior for most uses.  When the Common
Lisp standardization body decided to bring together the features of
all the then-popular Lisps, Scheme-style static scoping was used, and
now it's nearly ubiquitous.

The point of the historical excursion was to explain that if being
able to program AutoLISP is your goal, you will probably be best
served with tutorials specific to it, and possibly elisp.  Scheme and
Common Lisp are closer to one another than either is to AutoLISP, so
unless your primary goal is to learn a modern Lisp, you will want to
stay away from material about them.

I found a site that contains some tutorials on AutoLISP:

And you can find all sorts of information about programming in elisp
in emacs's info pages, which should include a tutorial and a reference


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