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A better REPL for SBCL. It handles errors greacefully, is not too verbose, has readline capabilities, including multiline input and reset, and has optional syntax highlighting capabilities using pygmentize.


For most cases, calling ./ should suffice. It will install sbcli into $PREFIX/bin, with the environment variable PREFIX defaulting to /usr/local. If you are using Mac and having issues with cl-readline see the installation notes for cl-readline.


sbcli depends on Quicklisp and cl-readline. If you have Quicklisp installed, cl-readline will be installed on sbclis first launch. sbcli assumes that Quicklisp is installed under ~/quicklisp.


You should be able to launch sbcli by just typing sbcli. Once you’re in the REPL, you can edit normally with readline capabilities. Hitting tab will autocomplete (note that if there is more than one possibility, you’ll have to hit tab twice).

Typing :help will give you an overview over all the available special cases and give you an overview over what you’ve defined.

Typing :h symbol will enter inspection mode for a symbol. Typing CTRL-D exits inspection mode.

Typing :doc symbol prints the available documentation for this symbol.

Typing (symbol ? also prints the available documentation for this symbol.

Typing :q, CTRL-D, or CTRL-C will exit the REPL.

Typing :r resets the environment.

Typing :d symbol dumps the disassembly of a symbol.

Typing :t <expression> prints the type returned by an expression.

Typing :s filename will save all of the expressions that were typed and evaluated to the file specified, in the format:

(+ 1 2) ; => 3
(* 6 10) ; => 60

Of course, depending on your result, this can result in very long lines, or break if your result contains newlines. Use at your own peril for now!


If you want you can add customizations to sbcli. On startup it will load a file called .sbclirc in your home directory if it exists. You can execute arbitrary code there, two of the more interesting values to set are *prompt* and *ret*. Check out an example resource file here.

Exposed Variables

For reference, here is a complete list of the variables we expose:

; the name of the REPL, printed on top
*repl-name*    ; => "Veit's REPL for SBCL"

; the prompt and continuation prompt variables
*prompt*       ; => "sbcl> "
*prompt2*      ; => "....> "

; the return value prompt
*ret*          ; => "=> "

; where to store the history
*hist-file*    ; => "~/.sbcli_history"

; the history variable
; while nothing prevents you from writing to it, i advise against it
*hist*         ; => ()

; you can optionally set a path to pygmentize to enable syntax-coloring
; in the REPL. N.B: might lead to slower rendering speed
; if you're unsure what to put there, i suggest using
; [which](
*pygmentize* ; => nil

Have fun!