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Programming Environments

LISP Pointers
Volume I, Number 1
April-May 1987

Programming Environments
page 36

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John Foderaro

We know that computers are powerful problem solvers and it is only natural to focus some of that power to the problem of writing programs. A programming environment is the set of programs which make programming possible. A good programming environment makes it easier to write good programs. I'm not sure if a bad programming environment makes it easier to write bad programs or harder to write good programs; probably a bit of both. What we all strive for is a better environment and I urge readers to contribute their ideas on how we can improve our programming environments.

In addition to reader contributions, this department will publish summaries of the current Lisp programming environments. We begin with a summary of the Symbolics environment.



The following summaries were written in response to specific questions. These questions may not expose the full power of the particular programming environment being summarized. The questions were asked of individuals with experience in the programming environment, and the statements reflect the opinions of those individuals. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the companies which employ the individuals or the company whose product is being described.


The following answers were provided by Daniel Weinreb of Symbolics, Inc.

Company: Symbolics, Inc.
Product name: Genera
Version of product described:      Genera 7.0 (a.k.a. Release 7.0 of Genera)
This version available when: October 1986
Hardware available on: All (and only) Symbolics machines

This environment is a direct descendent of the MIT Lisp Machine environment. Most of the key designers of the MIT Lisp Machine environment went on to continue developing the Symbolics system, of which General 7.0 is the latest version. At MIT, we were influenced primarily by the existing Maclisp system and the Maclisp-related tools that were around at MIT, and other MIT software such as Emacs. Various ideas were adopted from many other systems, including Smalltalk-76.

Primarily residential or file based:  Primarily file-based.

Components of the programming environment:

Editor:  Zmacs; The basic user interface is very similar to Emacs, but

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