I am moving this blog to kazimirmajorinc.com.
In the meantime, some posts may be unavailable.

When Were The Best Days for Lisp?

Another question that can be answered by some Google graphs.
According to Google Ngrams, for Lisp (whole family) in late 1980's;
for Scheme alone quite a bit later.
I'm surprised that the loss of the popularity is so great.

Google ngram

if you like this post, you might be interested in following posts:

  Why you do not use Lisp? The results of the poll.  

  Relative popularity of Lisp dialects.  


  1. Well, back in the early 80's there wasn't such a big choice of interpreted and functional languages, so LISP was the choice by default for a lot of people.

    Back then, Microsoft's BASIC was the dominant interpretive language on microcomputers, and there wasn't Python, Tcl, Lua, Ruby and all of the choices you have today. Sure, FORTH was around early, but that's a language for people who like living dangerously.

    Back then, the first ML languages were in the lab. Today you can expect functional features in everything from Javascript to C# and PHP, and there are all sorts of advanced languages such as oCAML/F#, Haskell, etc.

    So I think LISP was a victim of it's success. Many of the features for which LISP was a pioneering language are now available in a wide variety of languages from mainstream to research languages.

  2. The best days for lisp are yet to come.

  3. It took me at least 10 years to sit down and make myself learn lisp. I could almost regret it, because all other languages feel weak in comparison, even though I don't find I've been able to beat python in terms feeling productive, yet.

    What do I like about lisp? The fact that I can build the abstractions that I need, when I need them.

    In the Java-like languages, I keep hitting walls. There are too few abstractions available. Everything made in the confines of classes and methods, without macros. We've probably all read the commotion over the Visitor pattern, and multiple dispatch. This is exactly why lisp is a good thing.

  4. I worked with a symbolics Lisp machine. It is the best machine I've ever work.

  5. Back in the 80s, 84-85 for me, I was playing a lot with Smalltalk, especially the cheap and available Digitalk version. But I only found work in the OO sphere using Objective C which I hacked to make it modestly distributed and persistent. I wish I had played more with Lisp in that time period. I got sucked too deeply into the whole OO thing.