The Common Lisp Condition System Book

Several months ago I had a pleasure to be one of the reviewers of the book The Common Lisp Condition System (Beyond Exception Handling with Control Flow Mechanisms) by Michał Herda. I doubt that I have contributed much to the book, but, at least, I can express my appreciation in the form of a reader review here.

My overall impression is that the book is very well-written and definitely worth reading. I always considered special variables, the condition system, and multiple returns values to be the most underappreciated features of Common Lisp, although I have never imagined that a whole book may be written on these topics (and even just two of them). So, I was pleasantly flabbergasted.

The book has a lot of things I value in good technical writing: a structured and logical exposition, detailed discussions of various nuances, a subtle sense of humor, and lots of Lisp. I should say that reading the stories of Tom, Kate, and Mark was so entertaining that I wished to learn more about their lives. I even daydreamt (to use the term often seen throughout the book) about a new semi-fiction genre: stories about people who behave like computer programs. I guess a book of short stories containing the two from this book and the story of Mac from "Practical Common Lisp" can already be initialized. "Anthropomorphic Lisp Tales"...

So, I can definitely recommend reading CLCS to anyone interested in expanding their Lisp knowledge and general understanding of programming concepts. And although I can call myself quite well versed with the CL condition system, I was also able to learn several new tricks and enrich my understanding. Actually, that is quite valuable as you never know when one of its features could become handy to save your programming day. In my own Lisp career, I had several such a-ha moments and continue appreciating them.

This book should also be relevant to those, who have a general understanding of Lisp, but are compelled to spend their careers programming in inferior languages: you can learn more about one of the foundations of interactive programming and appreciate its value. Perhaps, one day you'll have access to programming environments that focus on this dimension or you'll be able to add elements of interactivity to your own workflow.

As for those who are not familiar with Lisp, I'd first start with the classic Practical Common Lisp.

So, thanks to Michał for another great addition to my virtual Lisp books collection. The spice mush flow, as they say...

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