Release Date: 6th December, 2019
Licence: LGPLv3

Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad-hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp.

  • Philip Greenspun

Now your BlitzMax applications can have one too!

lispmax is a module for BlitzMax that can parse and execute a lispy scripting language.


lispmax depends on a couple of sub-modules from sodaware.mod.

Once sodaware.mod is installed, navigate to the sodaware.mod folder and clone the lispmax.mod repository.

cd /path/to/blitzmax/mod/sodaware.mod/
git clone

A quick example

The following lisp expression adds two numbers together:

(+ 10 20)

To run this within BlitzMax using lispmax, we need to do the following:

  1. Create and initialize a LispMax object - this contains the environment (functions, variables etc)
  2. Parse the expression - this converts a string containing lisp code into something LispMax can use
  3. Evaluate the expression - this is where the magic happens

In practice, it looks a little like this:

Framework brl.basic
Import sodaware.lispmax

' Create a new LispMax instance.
Local lisp:LispMax = New LispMax

' Load built-in and library functions.

' Parse and evaluate the expression.
Local expression:LispMax_Atom = lisp.parseExpression("(+ 10 20)")
Local result:LispMax_Atom     = lisp.evaluateExpression(expression)

' Print the result.

Running the above example will print 30.

Built-in functions

LispMax comes with the following functions built-in:

  • CAR - Get the first part of a pair
  • CDR - Get the rest of a pair, excluding the CAR
  • CONS - Create a new pair
  • NTH - Return the nth item from a list
  • + - Add
  • - - Subtract
  • * - Multiply
  • / - Divide
  • MOD - Modulus
  • = - Equal
  • < - Less than
  • > - Greater than
  • EQ? - Check if two atoms are equal.
  • NIL? - Predicate to check if an atom is a nil
  • PAIR? - Predicate to check if an atom is a pair.
  • LISTP - Predicate to check if an atom is a list.
  • LIST - Create a list.
  • OR - Logical or
  • STRING-UPCASE- Convert a string to uppercase
  • STRING-DOWNCASE - Convert a string to lowercase
  • RAND - Generate a random integer
  • MILLISECS - Get the number of elapsed milliseconds as an integer
  • PARSE-INTEGER - Parse a string into an integer
  • DEBUGLOG - Write text to the BlitzMax debuglog
  • PRINT - Print a string
  • PRINT-EXPRESSION - Convert an expression to a string and print it

Library functions (which are defined in lispmax code, not BlitzMax code) can be found in site-lisp/library.lisp.

Most of these functions behave the same as their Common Lisp counterparts.

Adding functions

LispMax supports defining functions in BlitzMax, or in lispmax itself.

Adding native BlitzMax functions

The preferred way to add a native function is to create a type that extends LispMax_Callable.

For example, to add a function that always returns the string "Hello, World":

Type MyFunction extends LispMax_Callable
    Method call:LispMax_Atom(caller:LispMax, args:LispMax_Atom)
        Return caller.makeString("Hello, World")
    End Method
End Type

lisp.addFunction("my-function", new MyFunction)

Native functions are faster than using lispmax code, but they require the application to be recompiled.

Adding lispmax functions

Evaluate the following code from within the LispMax environment.

(define (my-function)
  "Hello, World")

Alternatively, functions can be added using a more lispy syntax:

(defun my-function ()
  "Always returns the string Hello World"
  "Hello, World")


Copyright (C) 2017-2019 Phil Newton

LISPMAX is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

LISPMAX is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with LISPMAX. If not, see