Wow, thank you Paul, GZeus, and phil for the helpful info! I believe I've underestimated the scope of learning something like this. My curiosity in Lisp was sparked while tooling around in AutoCAD recently. I saw a few implementations of AutoLisp that simplified certain strings of commands in AutoCAD. I ignorantly figured that AutoLisp and Lisp in general must have been created by the folks at Autodesk as a companion to their CAD programs. Haha, I didn't realize that it's actually one of the longest established high-level languages today.
phil wrote:It's not quite clear if you need a Common Lisp or if any dialect of Lisp will do. The reason I ask is that your post title suggests you need a Common Lisp but the list of things you've tried has a couple of other dialects in there so I'm not sure if this is a hard requirement for you.
Well, since my original goal was to learn some lisp for ACAD purposes, I suppose I should gear my learning towards the language implemented for ACAD. If I'm not mistaken, Autodesk has implemented their own dialect of Lisp called "AutoLISP." I think it's close to CL, but with added functionality for ACAD commands. Then again, if this language is too specialized, I think I'd rather learn a more general dialect of Lisp first before I try to tackle the more specific AutoLISP.
I've noticed that some functions that LispTutor Jr is teaching me are not recognized by Autodesk's supplied Lisp interpreter. In fact, some functions seem to only work in the tutor environment (it is a field in the browser that checks bits of code for correctness). For example, "let" is not recognized by Autocad's Lisp dialect. This further worries me about learning in Autocad's Lisp environment because it may mislead me.
The most common choice is to use Emacs with SLIME
Sorry for the complicated reply, by the way, I'm picking apart your post and trying to address everything. Emacs is a text editor, yes? Analogous to notepad or wordpad but with loads more functionality? I downloaded Notepad++ recently, and I've been typing out strings of code in that. The highlighting functionality of Notepad++ is very helpful, but I wonder what dialect of Lisp is recognized by Notepad++, since there seems to be many equally relevant alternatives.
I've looked at the Emacs site, but I was tentative about it. I'll definitely give it a go, though. I'm really looking for something that I can throw test code at and get feedback.
My own little project ABLE
may be useful for you but it is quite a raw environment with not too much hand holding. You can watch the screencast
to see if it would be any good to you but I certainly don't want to push it as I think the other options may be more suitable in your situation.
I think I'm gonna try ABLE first, because it looks to be less troublesome than Emacs and I'm still working through the tutorials anyways so I'm in no rush to enter a full-featured coding suite, haha.