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About this manual

This manual contains a user guide section (previously published separately as the LispWorks User Guide ) and a reference section (previously the LispWorks Reference Manual ).

User Guide section

The user guide section of this manual describes the main language-level features and tools available in LispWorks, and how to use them.

These chapters describe the central programming tools and features in LispWorks:

The next chapter, Customization of LispWorks, explains how to perform some commonly required customizations, such as controlling start-up appearance of LispWorks.

The remaining user guide chapters describe features of specialist interest:

Please note that documentation for Graphics Ports is in the CAPI User Guide and Reference Manual .

Reference section

Most of the reference section is organized by package: each chapter contains reference material for the exported symbols in a given package. The chapters are organized alphabetically by package name.

Generally one chapter covers each package, but the WIN32 package symbols are split into four chapters, and the last chapter contains reference material for C functions. Within each chapter, the symbols are organized alphabetically (ignoring non-alphanumeric characters that are common in Lisp symbols, such as *). The chapters are:

Many of these reference chapters should be used in conjunction with corresponding chapters in the user guide section. Reference material for some aspects of LispWorks can be found in other manuals.

Conventions used for reference entries

Each entry is headed by the symbol name and type, followed by a number of fields providing further details. These fields consist of a subset of the following: "Summary", "Package", "Signature", "Method signatures", "Arguments", "Values", "Initial value", "Superclasses", "Subclasses", "Initargs", "Accessors", "Readers", "Description", "Notes", "Compatibility notes", "Examples" and "See also".

Some symbols with closely-related functionality are coalesced into a single reference entry.

Throughout, variable arguments, slots and return values are italicised. They look like-this.

Throughout, exported symbols and example code are printed like-this. The package qualifier is usually omitted, unless the symbol is not documented in this manual.

Entries with a long "Description" section usually have as their first field a short "Summary" providing a quick overview of the symbol's purpose.

The "Package" section shows the package from which the symbol is exported.

The "Signature" section shows the arguments and return values of functions and macros, and the parameters of types.

In a Generic Function entry there may be a "Method signatures" section showing system-defined method signatures.

The "Arguments" and "Values" sections show types of the arguments and return values.

In a Variable entry, the "Initial value" section shows the initial value.

In a Class entry the "Subclasses" section of lists the external subclasses, though not subclasses of those, and the "Superclasses" section lists the external superclasses, though not superclasses of those. The "Initargs" section describes the initialization arguments of the class, though note that initargs of superclasses are also valid. There may be an "Accessors" section listing accessor functions which are both readers and writers, and/or a "Readers" section listing accessor functions which are only readers. Accessor functions access the slot with matching name.

The "Description" section contains the detail of what the symbol does, how each argument is interpreted (and its default value if applicable), and how each return value is derived. More incidental information may be shown in a "Notes" section.

A few entries have a "Compatibility notes" section describing changes in the symbol's functionality relative to other LispWorks versions.

Examples are given under the "Examples" heading. Short examples are shown directly. Longer examples are supplied as source files in your LispWorks installation directory under examples/. The convenience function example-edit-file allows you to open these files in the LispWorks editor.

Finally, the "See also" section provides links to other related symbols and user guide sections.

The LispWorks manuals

The LispWorks manual set comprises the following books:

The LispWorks manuals are all available in Portable Documentation Format (PDF). You can use Adobe Reader to browse the PDF documentation online or to print it. Adobe Reader is available for free download from Adobe's web site at .

The LispWorks manuals are also available in HTML format. Commands in the Help menu of any of the LispWorks IDE tools give you direct access to the HTML documentation, using your web browser. Details of how to use these commands can be found in the LispWorks IDE User Guide .

Please let us know if you find any mistakes in the LispWorks documentation, or if you have any suggestions for improvements.

Other documentation

The LispWorks manuals do not attempt to describe Lisp itself. For definitive information on Common Lisp, including CLOS, consult the American National Standard X3.226 for Common Lisp. An HTML version of this document is supplied with LispWorks and can be accessed from the Help menu.

For information on CLOS, Sonya E. Keene's book Object-Oriented Programming in Common Lisp: A Programmers' Guide is very helpful. This book is published by Addison-Wesley.

For an account of Metaobject protocols as well as a detailed study of an implementation of CLOS see Kiczales, des Rivières and Bobrow, The Art of the Meta-Object Protocol , published by MIT Press, often referred to as AMOP. The LispWorks MOP mostly conforms to chapters 5 & 6 of AMOP; the differences are mentioned here in The Metaobject Protocol.

Notation and conventions

The LispWorks manuals follow the notation used in Common Lisp: the Language (2nd Edition).

This manual often refers to example files in the LispWorks library, like this:

(example-edit-file "ssl/ssl-client")

These examples are Lisp source files in your LispWorks installation under lib/7-0-0-0/examples/. You can simply evaluate the given form to view the example source file.

Other references such as "... the LispWorks file foo/bar.lisp" mean a file bar.lisp in a subdirectory foo of the LispWorks library directory. Evaluate this form in your LispWorks image to obtain the full path of such a file:

(sys:lispworks-file "foo/bar.lisp")


LispWorks User Guide and Reference Manual - 13 Feb 2015