I've been battling again with Scheme recently. Having spent the last couple of months playing with various languages, I've come to the conclusion that scheme is the only one that has any real possibility of becoming my next 'general purpose language'. Python held that crown for many years, but its lack of blocks and concurrency caused me to start looking elsewhere and now I'm spoilt.

So, to Scheme. I've not found another language that can offer:

  • functional programming
  • message-passing concurrency (see termite)
  • macros
  • continuations
  • terse syntax
  • hardly any language cludges

...and as somebody who programs for fun in his spare time, these things really do matter to me. The biggest obstacle to full enlightment is the s-expression aesthetic: To my algol-shaped brain that lisp syntax just looks so damn ugly!

Anyway, I'm finding that the most enjoyable and self-affirming way to develop some scheme skills is (ironically) to re-read Peter Seibel's 'Practical Common Lisp' book with scheme glasses on. Now if there's anyone going to convince me that lisp syntax isn't just a grotty heap of parentheses, it's going to be Peter. His book just radiates lisp-love, and you can't help but be hooked. It says 'Look! You fools! Just look what you're missing!'. I've been translating various examples into scheme, just to test the water.