My story may sound familiar to many of you - it's been years that I'm having a love-neglect relationship with Lisp and its brethen. Since I learned Lisp, I'm in awe for its elegancy, how right it feels, and how naturally it lends itself to the solution of tough problems.
But... I'm just failing to find practical applications for it in my work / hacking. Any time I think of writing something, I usually end up with Perl - a language I know much better, am quite productive with, that has tons of libraries and a terrific place to consult gurus (the monastery, of course).
But I keep coming back to Lisp - awing and gasping at its beauty. And keep neglecting it for real projects (its free libraries are lacking, to say the least, and the community is nothing to compare to Perl's).
Lately a decision blooms in my heart - to detach, once and for all. To overcome my addiction to this language. I learned it, coded in it, I understand it. I was enlightened with its spirit, but I want to move on. I want to write code in my precious Perl without feeling guilty for leaving Lisp behind.
I've been reading around, and it seems that some of the most cherished Lisp gurus (like Peter Norvig) feel that Lisp doesn't have that edge over other languages any more. Perl, Python, Ruby have all come very close. In fact, Perl 5 now has almost everything Lisp has (see "Higher order Perl", for example), lacking perhaps only in macros, and execution speed - both not necessary in most cases, and both to be provided by Perl 6.
But I need strength in this journey, I need to develop belief that this detachment is inded possible. How can I do this ?
One idea that sprang to my mind is to break the illusion. Namely, find Lisp code I found elegant, Lispy and beautiful, and rewrite it in Perl, with code having the same elegant traits.
I feel I'm not the only one with these doubts, that many Perl hackers feel that "I like Lisp and always wanted to deepen my knowledge in it, but I just want to get my job done".