[slime-devel] SLIME talk at the Emacs Conference

Helmut Eller eller.helmut at gmail.com
Thu Mar 7 10:28:18 UTC 2013

On Wed, Mar 06 2013, Luke Gorrie wrote:

> Howdy!
> Long time no chat :-)
> I will give a talk at the Emacs Conference (emacsconf.org, London March 31)
> called "How to write an Emacs-based IDE like SLIME".
> The idea is to demo SLIME, explain how its development works, and give some
> encouragement and practical tips to people who might want to build something
> similar for other languages.

FUEL[1] and Geiser[2] (both by the same person) are in many ways
inspired by SLIME.  Both seem to communicate on top of comint and seem
to work quite well.  I find that surprising given my general disdain for
comint-mode.  CEDET, now part of Emacs, apparently tries to analyze
other languages in Emacs Lisp directly.  It could be interesting to
compare those with SLIME and figure out which aspects of the different
approaches should be reused.

It might be worth to point out that SLIME's debugger depends on the CL
condition system and this can't be easily ported to languages that use
Java-like exceptions.  E.g. the Clojure backend for SLIME doesn't and
can't support "debug-on-error".

> If you have some ideas please fire away :) particularly about things I
> might easily overlook being as my SLIME know-how is about 10 years
> old!

Robert Brown wrote swank-crew[3] which can distribute work to multiple
servers and remote debugging allegedly works too.  I haven't tried it
out myself yet, because it requires threads, but it's certainly a
interesting direction to go.

There are some things in SLIME that still don't work perfectly, like
interruptible I/O or clean shutdown.  I don't have any wisdom to offer
regarding those issues, other than that those things are bloody hard to


[1] https://github.com/emacsmirror/factor-mode
[2] http://www.nongnu.org/geiser/
[3] https://github.com/brown/swank-crew

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