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ASDF 3, or Why Lisp is Now an Acceptable Scripting Language

And by Lisp, I mean Common Lisp.

Viewing the article

HTML and PDF versions of the extended version of the article (26 pages) can be found here:

HTML and PDF versions of the short version of the article (8 pages), as submitted to ELS 2014, can be found here:


The article can be compiled using PLT Racket's Scribble, from asdf3-2014.scrbl. See the various Makefile targets.

This is an article I wanted to write in 2013, but failed. In 2013, I only produced the following slides (using org-mode), for an ASDF "tutorial" at ELS 2013:

In 2014, I presented at ELS 2014 the slides in scripting-slides.rkt, on the topic of using CL as a scripting language, including deploying executables and image life-cycle hooks.


  • do something with the aborted tutorial material in obsolete/ or remove it.
  • complete the essay on Live Programming vs Cult of Dead programming, in ltu_culture_war.scrbl, then write a presentation about it.
  • complete the presentation in traverse-slides.rkt on the story of bug that begat ASDF 3, exploring subtleties in the ASDF dependency model, and a surprising conclusion. (My article's Appendix F)
  • Maybe have a presentation on a laundry list of new features in ASDF 3.1 since ASDF 2 ? Meh.


Material about ASDF3, its history and lessons, and how to use it.






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