Welcome to ISLisp

History of ISLisp

After advancements of AI researches from 1970s, necessity of standardization of Lisp languages was widely recognized and DARPA promoted a standardization work of Lisp over various Lisp languages mainly MacLisp family including Lisp machine Lisp and InterLisp and Scheme. The result of the efforts was published as "Common Lisp: the Language" by Guy L. Steele in 1984, and then, "Common Lisp the Language: 2nd edition" in 1990. In 1994, ANSI Common Lisp standard was established.

Standardization work in ISO started in the fall of 1987 by forming SC22 WG16 (Lisp WG). At the beginning, there was an observation that if ANSI Common Lisp is established , then it will be ISO standard of Lisp language. On the other hand, some people were concerned about execution inefficiency and difficulties in learning and use of the language caused by the huge language specifications of Common Lisp and WG16 decided to target a compact, efficient and easy to use Lisp language solving those issues.

The design objective of ISLisp was to develop a subset of Common Lisp which has a consistent specifications and quality meeting industry use. To achieve this design objectives, WG16 took a layered approach and EuLisp and Common Lisp were candidates for the kernel language at initial stage.

In WG16 meeting in January 1992, KL (Kernel Language) by Ito, Yuasa, Umemura and others proposed by Japan was adopted as a base of Lisp part and CLOS proposed by US was adopted as a base of object part of the new language. After that, functionality extension of KL and simplification of CLOS were carried out and this new Lisp language was named ISLisp. CD was developed in summer of 1994 and in the DIS ballot in September of 1996, ISLisp was approved as IS of Lisp languages.