Lisp for web application development

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Lisp for web application development

Postby georgetony » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:35 am


This is my first post in this form. My experience with Lisp is limited. Just started to learn it and liked it a lot, so I am thinking of moving my day to day work to use Lisp :D ... Slowly of course.

Are the following possible to do with Lisp (any of the open-source versions):
- Read and Modify Excel files (xlsx)
- Read and Modify Word Documents (docx)
-- In both of the above, the intention is to read an existing file with charts and so on. Proceed to update the sheet with data. Save it into a new file.
-- In case of both Excel and Word, changing of some formatting are required as well.

- I do the development on a Macbook Air and sometimes I am not connected to internet, especially during travel. The server that the applications deployed are running Ubuntu/Debian. Is it possible to set up a development and production env so that what I develop on the Mac can be uploaded directly to the server and expect it to work? Using a VM is not good because it reduces the battery life by a large percentage. If this is possible, would you please tell me how or what I need to set up?

Most of my work involves making web applications for other companies. These are deployed on my own VPS servers and I am free to use whatever to do the backend. The applications are not simple websites, but are normally used for automating the client's business processes. These needs to be maintained and updated as time goes on and their businesses evolve. It is convenient to have it as a web app rather than something they need to install.

(repeat info, same as mentioned above)
Normal server setup is: Linux (Ubuntu / Debian) on Linode. 512mb to 1Gb ram.
Normal development setup is: MacBook Air, OSX 10.9, Vim

Would you advise using Lisp for these kind of work? My motivation is to do all the work in a language that is a bit more easy to adapt and evolve (?) as the customer's businesses grows.

Thank you very much for any suggestions.
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:12 am

Re: Lisp for web application development

Postby astalla » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:48 am


what you ask is certainly "possible", the actual question is: do solutions written in Lisp exist out of the box? Personally I don't know. Given my background, I'd approach the problem by using ABCL and Apache POI ( to manipulate the files. There is a blog post speaking about that solution:

About developing on Mac and deploying on Ubuntu, I don't see problems in doing that; you only have to be careful to avoid baking OS-dependent assumptions in your application (e.g. hardcoding the path of some file), but that's up to you, not Lisp. You'll also have to make sure that your Lisp implementation of choice runs well enough on both OSX and Linux, but as far as I know all the widely used ones are fine.

Hope this helps!
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:03 pm

Re: Lisp for web application development

Postby georgetony » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:15 am

Hello Alessio,

Thank you very much for your reply. This blog post is great! Exactly what I was looking for :-)
Now my requirements are more or less easily achievable using ABCL + Apache POI. Trying to get it to work at the moment...

Thanks again.

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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:12 am

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