LispOS: LispEnv or Tunes?

Cyber Surfer
Fri, 02 May 1997 20:00:05 +0100

At 13:39 01/05/97 -0700, you wrote:

>But if you change the web server to dynamically generate HTML and GIFS
>with tight and fast execution in the server,
>then you can do a whole lot more.

That's what some of us have been doing. ;-) Unfortunately, it's being
done with tools like Metahtml, CFML, SQL, etc. Tight and fast execution
with (not _in_) the server is possible by using dynamic linking for CGI.
Perhaps this isn't so common for Unix, but Metahtml is for Unix.

>The user-interface is limited since it doesn't have keystroke level
>input, and only 1 mouse button.
>But that can be seen as a good thing, it *requires* the interface to
>be mouse-click oriented, which ends up making it easy to use
>for non-computer people, who are the eventual end users.

That's where Java, JavaScript, and (hawk, spit) ActiveX come in.
MS are throwing big recourses at this. Perhaps 10 years from now,
all Windows software will run in the "Active Desktop", entirely based
on technology evolved from today's web software.

On the other hand, this may be an application of EEE: Embrace,
Extend, Eliminate. 10 years from now, HTTP/HTML users may be
an extreme minority. I hope not.

Still, my point is that something is happening, and it isn't using Lisp.
Nor do many people think that it needs Lisp - most of them think it
needs something like Java, or Perl. Perhaps they're wrong, but do
they know it? Will they ever know it? (See my sigfile.)

>There is a client<->server speed issue.  Not really a problem for fast
>local networks, and 100mb intranets are now becomming cheap and
>common.  More of problem for the intranet, but using Frames you can
>do better.  Furthermore, one might have an adaptable user interface,
>that detects the client connection speed and can reduce the bandwidth
>needed for the interface.  This isn't easy, but is probably impossible
>in a non-lisp, non-integrated httpd server.

Some of us are already doing it, with "off the shelf" web server tools
available today. You just give the user the option to read a non-graphic
page. If the pages are generated dynamically, then this is even easier
to do! And yes, some of us are doing it already.

This may well be easy to do in Lisp, using CL-HTTP, but most people
don't need to learn Lisp to do this. Domain specific languages exist
that are much easier to learn (by being very close to HTML), and
available commercially with support. Perhaps Franz could do this,
by bundling a web server with ACL (either platform), and adding SQL
support, but it would still require programmers to learn at least a little
Lisp. Meanwhile, everybody else storms ahead without using Lisp.

I agree that if you know Lisp, and can use it, then this is a great way
to do it. However, I think you're very wrong about people _needing_
Lisp in order to do it. The evidence is already on the web. What that
may mean for Lisp is another matter.

Martin Rodgers
Enrapture Limited
<URL:> You can never browse enough
Future generations are relying on us
It's a world we've made - Incubus   
We're living on a knife edge, looking for the ground -- Hawkwind