Skip to content

marcoheisig/cl4py

master
Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?
Code

Latest commit

 

Git stats

Files

Permalink
Failed to load latest commit information.
Type
Name
Latest commit message
Commit time
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

cl4py - Common Lisp for Python

The library cl4py (pronounce as clappy) allows Python programs to call Common Lisp libraries. Its official mascot is the cl4py-bird:

./cl4py.png

Motivation

You are a Python programmer, but you want access to some of the powerful features of Lisp, for example to compile code at run time? Or you want to use some awesome Lisp libraries? Or you are a Lisp programmer and want to show your work to your Python friends. In all these cases, cl4py is here to help you.

Tutorial

You can start any number of Lisp subprocesses within Python, like this:

>>> import cl4py
>>> lisp = cl4py.Lisp()

Of course, this requires you have some Lisp installed. If not, use something like apt install sbcl, pacman -S sbcl or brew install sbcl to correct this deficiency. Once you have a running Lisp process, you can execute Lisp code on it:

# In Lisp, numbers evaluate to themselves.
>>> lisp.eval( 42 )
42

# ('+', 2, 3) is a short notation for cl4py.List(cl4py.Symbol('+'), 2, 3).
# For convenience, whenever a Python tuple is converted to Lisp
# data, any strings therein are automatically converted to Lisp symbols.
>>> lisp.eval( ('+', 2, 3) )
5

# Nested expressions are allowed, too.
>>> lisp.eval( ('/', ('*', 3, 5), 2) )
Fraction(15, 2)

# Use cl4py.List instead of tuples to avoid the automatic conversion of
# strings to symbols.
>>> lisp.eval( cl4py.List(cl4py.Symbol('STRING='), 'foo', 'bar') )
()
>>> lisp.eval( cl4py.List(cl4py.Symbol('STRING='), 'foo', 'foo') )
True

# Here is how you can lookup a symbol's value:
>>> lisp.eval(cl4py.Symbol('*PRINT-BASE*', 'COMMON-LISP'))
10

# Of course you can also use Lisp macros:
>>> lisp.eval( ('loop', 'for', 'i', 'below', 5, 'collect', 'i') )
List(0, 1, 2, 3, 4)

>>> lisp.eval( ('with-output-to-string', ('stream',),
                  ('princ', 12, 'stream'),
                  ('princ', 34, 'stream')) )
'1234'

A cl4py.Lisp object not only provides eval, but also methods for looking up functions and packages:

>>> add = lisp.function('+')
>>> add(1, 2, 3, 4)
10

>>> div = lisp.function('/')
>>> div(2, 4)
Fraction(1, 2)

# Lisp packages are automatically converted to Python modules.
>>> cl = lisp.find_package('CL')
>>> cl.oddp(5)
True

>>> cl.cons(5, None)
List(5)

>>> cl.remove(5, [1, -5, 2, 7, 5, 9], key=cl.abs)
[1, 2, 7, 9]

# Higher-order functions work, too!
>>> cl.mapcar(cl.constantly(4), (1, 2, 3))
List(4, 4, 4)

# cl4py even supports macros and special forms as a thin
# wrapper around lisp.eval.
>>> cl.loop('repeat', 5, 'collect', 42)
List(42, 42, 42, 42, 42)

>>> cl.progn(5, 6, 7, ('+', 4, 4))
8

When converting Common Lisp packages to Python modules, we run into the problem that not every Common Lisp symbol name is a valid Python identifier. As a remedy, so we attempt to substitute problematic characters and symbols with something that Python can digest. Here you can see this substitution rules in action:

# hyphens are turned into underscores
>>> cl.type_of("foo")
List(Symbol("SIMPLE-ARRAY", "COMMON-LISP"), Symbol("CHARACTER", "COMMON-LISP"), List(3))

# The functions +, -, *, /, 1+, and 1- are renamed to add, sub,
# mul, div, inc, and dec, respectively.
>>> cl.add(2,3,4,5)
14

# Within a string, occurrences of -, *, +, <=, <, =, /=, >=, gt, and ~,
# are replaced by _, O, X, le, lt, sim, ne, ge, ge, gt, and tilde, respectively.
>>> cl.stringgt('baz', 'bar')
2

# Earmuffs are stripped
>>> cl.print_base
10

# Constants are capitalized
>>> cl.MOST_POSITIVE_DOUBLE_FLOAT
1.7976931348623157e+308

The cl4py module provides a Cons class that mimics cons cells in Lisp.

>>> lisp.eval( ('CONS', 1, 2) )
Cons(1, 2)

>>> lst = lisp.eval( ('CONS', 1, ('CONS', 2, () )) )
List(1, 2)
>>> lst.car
1
>>> lst.cdr
List(2) # an abbreviation for Cons(2, ())

# cl4py Conses are iterable!
>>> list(lst)
[1, 2]
>>> sum(lst)
3

# cl4py also supports dotted and circular lists.
>>> lisp.eval( ('CONS', 1, ('CONS', 2, 3 )) )
DottedList(1, 2, 3)

>>> twos = cl.cons(2,2)
>>> twos.cdr = twos
>>> twos
DottedList(2, ...)

>>> cl.mapcar(lisp.function('+'), (1, 2, 3, 4), twos)
List(3, 4, 5, 6)

Frequently Asked Problems

Why does my Lisp subprocess complain about Package QL does not exist.

By default, cl4py starts a Lisp subprocess with sbcl --script. This means, that the Lisp process will ignore any user initialization files, including the Quicklisp setup. However, we provide an extra option for installing and loading Quicklisp automatically: quicklisp=True

>>> lisp = cl4py.Lisp(quicklisp=True);
>>> ql = lisp.find_package('QL')
>>> ql.quickload('YOUR-SYSTEM')

Related Projects

  • burgled-batteries - A bridge between Python and Lisp. The goal is that Lisp programs can use Python libraries, which is in some sense the opposite of cl4py. Furthermore it relies on the less portable mechanism of FFI calls.
  • CLAUDE - An earlier attempt to access Lisp libraries from Python. The key difference is that cl4py does not run Lisp directly in the host process. This makes cl4py more portable, but complicates the exchange of data.
  • cl-python - A much heavier solution than cl4py --- let's simply implement Python in Lisp! An amazing project. However, cl-python cannot access foreign libraries, e.g., NumPy. And people are probably hesitant to migrate away from CPython.
  • Hy - Python, but with Lisp syntax. This project is certainly a great way to get started with Lisp. It allows you to study the advantages of Lisp's seemingly weird syntax, without leaving the comfortable Python ecosystem. Once you understand the advantages of Lisp, you will doubly appreciate cl4py for your projects.
  • py4cl - A library that allows Common Lisp code to access Python libraries. It is basically the inverse of cl4py.

Releases

No releases published

Packages

No packages published