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Re: Improving the LISP working environment by taking a lesson from...

1- In Interlisp, the Masterscope facility lets you easily find out
what all your functions, variables, etc. names are.  In fact, it
includes a powerful query facility for discovering relationships in
your program, much better than anything in any other language or
system I know.  It is callable both from the terminal (with pleasant
English-like syntax) or from programs.

2- The SYSOUT facility in Interlisp makes it very cheap (in time) to
create checkpoints which you can resume from later.  Many Interlisp
users prefer the APL "workspace" style, keeping a SYSOUT around to
work in for days or weeks.

3- It's not simply a matter of "cover functions", different Lisp
systems have chosen to develop themselves in quite different
directions.  For example, Interlisp has put tremendous emphasis on
managing the programming process through history retention, building
up a data base of your code, etc., while MACLisp has placed more
emphasis on efficient compilation and certain kinds of system
simplicity.  APL hasn't grown in ANY of these directions as far as I
know.  To quote Joel Moses (approximately): "APL is a diamond -- you
can't add anything to it, even another diamond, without ruining its
beauty.  Lisp is a ball of mud: you can keep adding more and more mud
to it and its nature doesn't change."  I think it is precisely because
Lisp is really almost like an assembly language for a particularly
interesting machine that it has been used to do such a tremendous
variety of things.