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Ask ARC: Can I start with Arc?
5 points by micoangelo 494 days ago | 4 comments
Hi everyone,

I'm new to programming.

My question: Is it a good idea to ramp up to Arc by using a resource like this book to first learn Lisp? (

I've only taken one class in C++ and have some rough html/css/JS hacking ability. That said, I want to start learning Arc as my first real progamming language for hacking. It seems really powerful and liberating. Is it possible to start with it or should I learn another dialect of lisp first?


6 points by akkartik 493 days ago | link

I think "learning Lisp" is Arc's best niche. So yes, try using it and come ask us questions. Feel free to also ping me over email, that is sometimes faster. My address is in my profile.

One caveat: it can be easier to learn from a book if you follow the language it was written for. Land of Lisp is a fine book by all accounts, so if you use it you may be better off just using Common Lisp or whatever. But feel free to come ask questions anyway. Maybe we can show you both Common Lisp and Arc versions of programs.


2 points by hjek 473 days ago | link

Racket has very extensive documentation and clear error messages, so Racket is a great for learning (and other of programs -- I'm writing a printer driver in Racket). Arc runs on Racket and has Racket interop.

If you want to write JavaScript with Lisp syntax, then you may like ESLisp,

Clojure is also good for writing Java programs, and Rich Hickey's talks are fun,


5 points by jsgrahamus 492 days ago | link

Recommend working through the tutorial, too.


6 points by akkartik 491 days ago | link

Thanks for the reminder! Your comment reminded me that the Arc tutorial ( doesn't quite match the state of Anarki, so I created copies of the tutorial for both stable and master branches at

The stable branch uses the Arc tutorial unchanged. All I did was to make it a little easier to read:

The master branch of Anarki has one major incompatibility with Arc 3.1, and I created a version of the tutorial with it highlighted in bold:

micoangelo, if you decide to try out Arc, be sure to start at rather than the instructions here at Even if you use the stable branch which is compatible with Arc 3.1, it has a couple of crucial bugfixes that are otherwise liable to bite you at an inopportune moment.