February 26, 2007

Scheme and its implementation

Posted in Scheme at 5:31 pm by pmatos

While trying to find references regarding the keywords “pure interpreter” due to a thread on the r6rs mailing list, I just found out this book: An Introduction to Scheme and its Implementation . I haven’t looked into it yet but it seems to be worthwhile of a look.



  1. Tiago Sousa said,

    I’m a student at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, and this first semester, year 1, we’ve studied the Scheme language. My personal opinion is that it is a bit useless and it lacks power. It cannot be compared with python,C,C++,Java.. It is nice for those learning the logic of programing, but, for real development, I think it is really a weak language!
    But, anyway, this is just my opinion, try it out :D

  2. If you are interested in the implementation of Scheme, I can’t recommend “LiSP” aka “Lisp in Small Pieces” enough. Brilliant book.

  3. pmatos said,

    Thanks Jens, in fact I’m searching for that book a couple of years but.. it costs 55£ at amazon.co.uk and it doesn’t get cheaper. So I have had not the courage yet to buy it! :) Still, your suggestion might trigger my madness and I get just to buy it soon…

  4. Kyle Smith said,

    I’ve currently got a project at schemekeys.sourceforge.net (no home page yet, just got my project approved) to build a new espository Scheme. As you can imagine I’ve been searching the literature for the best I could find on the topic of implementing Scheme. I’d have to agree with Jens Axel that “Lisp In Small Pieces”, Christian Queinnec, 1994, first English translation, Cambridge University Press, 1996 is really without peer as far as tesxts go. You should know that Queinnec, French of course, is actually a Common Lisp man, who simply choose Scheme as the implementation language to write several interpreters and compilers by the end of the book, which are all different flavors of CL, not Scheme. The other bothersome point about the book is that he truely doesn’t believe his audience to be implementors, which he refers to in an off-handed bordering on derogatory manner throughout the text. He fancies the book a theoretical text about Lisp dialects, and that it truely is, but it showing its age now. Especially in the area of continuations, since at the time of his writing, circa 1994, some of the great inovations in implementing continuations had yet to be published. Still, as I say, it has no equal that I am aware of in regard to text books.

    If you do get around to purchasing the book, which I reccomend highly, I found a copy of the original source code that accopanies the text, which no longer is at http://ftp.inria.fr:INRIA/Projects/icsla/Books/Lisp.tar.gz. My guess is he use to work at inria and doesn’t anylonger, so they removed the code. At any rate, your more than welcome to a copy if you start to up the book, as it will save you quite a bit of typing. Just drop me a note, and I’ll put it out on my web site http://www.schemekeys.net for you to pick up.

    Best of Luck!


  5. Hi again,

    I often borrow books at the library – to figure out whether to buy them or not.

    Kyle, the code for the book is also to be found at Queinnec’s personal homepage:


  6. I’m looking for the source tarball for Queinnec’s book and can’t find it anywhere anymore. Does anyone have a link to it that works? Or would anyone be willing to post it somewhere? Thanks.


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