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LIPS Scheme History

· 2 min read
Jakub T. Jankiewicz
LIPS maintainer

This is the first article on LIPS blog. In this article I will write about the history of LIPS Scheme interpreter.

What is Scheme?

Scheme is a dialect of the Lisp. The second oldest programming language still in use (after Fortran). Lisp and Scheme have specific syntax with prefix notation and where everything is a list (at least historically). It's also Homoiconic, which means that code and data have the same represantion. This allows to write programs that modify the code like it was data.

What is LIPS?

LIPS name is a recursive ancronym which stands for "LIPS Is Pretty Simple". LIPS Scheme is implementation of Scheme programming language in JavaScript. It adds a lot of stuff on top of Scheme to make it more powerful and easier to interact with JavaScript.

History of LIPS

It all started in February 2018 when I've written the first version of Lisp interpreter. You can still see the code on CodePen. Then I moved the development to GitHub and named the project LIPS. The first release (version 0.2.0) is marked as Mar 2018.

At the beginning it was Lisp based on Scheme, but at one point after version 0.20.1 dated as Jul 1, 2020, I've started adding features on devel branch and decided that I want a full Scheme implementation. But it turns out that there were way too many breaking changes to release the next version. So I decided that I will release it as beta-1.0. Since then, LIPS keep introducing new Beta versions. You can see the latest release on GitHub.

Future of LIPS

For the future plans I want in final version 1.0 are implementation of continutations and Tail Calls (TCO) and to be compatible (more or less) with R7RS specification. To see the progress, you can check 1.0 Milestone on GitHub.