mal - Make a Lisp
Mal is a Clojure inspired Lisp interpreter.
Mal is implemented in 73 languages:
- GNU awk
- Bash shell
- BASIC (C64 and QBasic)
- Common Lisp
- Clojure (Clojure and ClojureScript)
- Emacs Lisp
- ES6 (ECMAScript 6 / ECMAScript 2015)
- GNU Guile
- GNU Smalltalk
- GNU Make
- mal itself
- Matlab (GNU Octave and MATLAB)
- Object Pascal
- Objective C
- Perl 6
- PL/pgSQL (Postgres)
- PL/SQL (Oracle)
- Python (2.X and 3.X)
- Scheme (R7RS)
- Swift 3
- Visual Basic.NET
Mal is a learning tool. See the make-a-lisp process guide. Each implementation of mal is separated into 11 incremental, self-contained (and testable) steps that demonstrate core concepts of Lisp. The last step is capable of self-hosting (running the mal implementation of mal).
The mal (make a lisp) steps are:
Mal was presented publicly for the first time in a lightning talk at Clojure West 2014 (unfortunately there is no video). See examples/clojurewest2014.mal for the presentation that was given at the conference (yes the presentation is a mal program). At Midwest.io 2015, Joel Martin gave a presentation on Mal titled "Achievement Unlocked: A Better Path to Language Learning". Video, Slides. More recently Joel gave a presentation on "Make Your Own Lisp Interpreter in 10 Incremental Steps" at LambdaConf 2016: Part 1, Part 2, Slides.
If you are interesting in creating a mal implementation (or just interested in using mal for something), please drop by the #mal channel on freenode. In addition to the make-a-lisp process guide there is also a mal/make-a-lisp FAQ where I attempt to answer some common questions.
The simplest way to run any given implementation is to use docker. Every implementation has a docker image pre-built with language dependencies installed. You can launch the REPL using a convenience target in the top level Makefile (where IMPL is the implementation directory name and stepX is the step to run):
make DOCKERIZE=1 "repl^IMPL^stepX" # OR stepA is the default step: make DOCKERIZE=1 "repl^IMPL"
The Ada implementation was created by Chris Moore
The Ada implementation was developed with GNAT 4.9 on debian. It also compiles unchanged on windows if you have windows versions of git, GNAT and (optionally) make. There are no external dependencies (readline not implemented).
cd ada make ./stepX_YYY
The GNU awk implementation was created by Miutsuru kariya
The GNU awk implementation of mal has been tested with GNU awk 4.1.1.
cd gawk gawk -O -f stepX_YYY.awk
cd bash bash stepX_YYY.sh
BASIC (C64 and QBasic)
The BASIC implementation uses a preprocessor that can generate BASIC code that is compatible with both C64 BASIC (CBM v2) and QBasic. The C64 mode has been tested with cbmbasic (the patched version is currently required to fix issues with line input) and the QBasic mode has been tested with qb64.
Generate C64 code and run it using cbmbasic:
cd basic make stepX_YYY.bas STEP=stepX_YYY ./run
Generate QBasic code and load it into qb64:
cd basic make MODE=qbasic stepX_YYY.bas ./qb64 stepX_YYY.bas
Thanks to Steven Syrek for the original inspiration for this implementation.
The C implementation of mal requires the following libraries (lib and header packages): glib, libffi6, libgc, and either the libedit or GNU readline library.
cd c make ./stepX_YYY
The C++ implementation was created by Stephen Thirlwall (sdt)
The C++ implementation of mal requires g++-4.9 or clang++-3.5 and a readline compatible library to build. See the
cpp/README.md for more details:
cd cpp make # OR make CXX=clang++-3.5 ./stepX_YYY
The C# implementation of mal has been tested on Linux using the Mono C# compiler (mcs) and the Mono runtime (version 126.96.36.199). Both are required to build and run the C# implementation.
cd cs make mono ./stepX_YYY.exe
The ChucK implementation was created by Vasilij Schneidermann
The ChucK implementation has been tested with ChucK 188.8.131.52.
cd chuck ./run
The Common Lisp implementation was created by Iqbal Ansari
The implementation has been tested with SBCL, CCL, CMUCL, GNU CLISP, ECL and Allegro CL on Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 12.04, see the README for more details. Provided you have the dependencies mentioned installed, do the following to run the implementation
cd common-lisp make ./run
For the most part the Clojure implementation requires Clojure 1.5, however, to pass all tests, Clojure 1.8.0-RC4 is required.
cd clojure lein with-profile +stepX trampoline run
sudo npm install -g coffee-script cd coffee coffee ./stepX_YYY
The Crystal implementation of mal was created by Linda_pp
The Crystal implementation of mal has been tested with Crystal 0.18.4.
cd crystal crystal run ./stepX_YYY.cr # OR make # needed to run tests ./stepX_YYY
The D implementation was created by Dov Murik
The D implementation of mal was tested with GDC 4.8. It requires the GNU readline library.
cd d make ./stepX_YYY
The Dart implementation was created by Harry Terkelsen
The Dart implementation has been tested with Dart 1.20.
cd dart dart ./stepX_YYY
The Emacs Lisp implementation was created by Vasilij Schneidermann
The Emacs Lisp implementation of mal has been tested with Emacs 24.3 and 24.5. While there is very basic readline editing (
C-c cancels the process), it is recommended to use
cd elisp emacs -Q --batch --load stepX_YYY.el # with full readline support rlwrap emacs -Q --batch --load stepX_YYY.el
The Elixir implementation was created by Martin Ek (ekmartin)
The Elixir implementation of mal has been tested with Elixir 1.0.5.
cd elixir mix stepX_YYY # Or with readline/line editing functionality: iex -S mix stepX_YYY
The Elm implementation was created by Jos van Bakel
The Elm implementation of mal has been tested with Elm 0.18.0
cd elm make stepX_YYY.js STEP=stepX_YYY ./run
The Erlang implementation was created by Nathan Fiedler (nlfiedler)
cd erlang make # OR MAL_STEP=stepX_YYY rebar compile escriptize # build individual step ./stepX_YYY
ES6 (ECMAScript 6 / ECMAScript 2015)
cd es6 make node build/stepX_YYY.js
The F# implementation was created by Peter Stephens (pstephens)
The F# implementation of mal has been tested on Linux using the Mono F# compiler (fsharpc) and the Mono runtime (version 3.12.1). The mono C# compiler (mcs) is also necessary to compile the readline dependency. All are required to build and run the F# implementation.
cd fsharp make mono ./stepX_YYY.exe
The Factor implementation was created by Jordan Lewis (jordanlewis)
The Factor implementation of mal has been tested with Factor 0.97 (factorcode.org).
cd factor FACTOR_ROOTS=. factor -run=stepX_YYY
The Fantom implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Fantom implementation of mal has been tested with Fantom 1.0.70.
cd fantom make lib/fan/stepX_YYY.pod STEP=stepX_YYY ./run
The Forth implementation was created by Chris Houser (chouser)
cd forth gforth stepX_YYY.fs
The Go implementation of mal requires that go is installed on on the path. The implementation has been tested with Go 1.3.1.
cd go make ./stepX_YYY
The Groovy implementation of mal requires Groovy to run and has been tested with Groovy 1.8.6.
cd groovy make groovy ./stepX_YYY.groovy
GNU Guile 2.1+
The Guile implementation was created by Mu Lei (NalaGinrut).
cd guile guile -L ./ stepX_YYY.scm
The Smalltalk implementation was created by Vasilij Schneidermann
The Smalltalk implementation of mal has been tested with GNU Smalltalk 3.2.91.
cd gnu-smalltalk ./run
The Haskell implementation requires the ghc compiler version 7.10.1 or later and also the Haskell parsec and readline (or editline) packages.
cd haskell make ./stepX_YYY
The Hy implementation of mal has been tested with Hy 0.13.0.
cd hy ./stepX_YYY.hy
The Io implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Io implementation of mal has been tested with Io version 20110905.
cd io io ./stepX_YYY.io
The Java implementation of mal requires maven2 to build.
cd java mvn compile mvn -quiet exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=mal.stepX_YYY # OR mvn -quiet exec:java -Dexec.mainClass=mal.stepX_YYY -Dexec.args="CMDLINE_ARGS"
cd js npm update node stepX_YYY.js
The Julia implementation of mal requires Julia 0.4.
cd julia julia stepX_YYY.jl
The Kotlin implementation was created by Javier Fernandez-Ivern
The Kotlin implementation of mal has been tested with Kotlin 1.0.
cd kotlin make java -jar stepX_YYY.jar
The LiveScript implementation was created by Jos van Bakel
The LiveScript implementation of mal has been tested with LiveScript 1.5.
cd livescript make node_modules/.bin/lsc stepX_YYY.ls
The Logo implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Logo implementation of mal has been tested with UCBLogo 6.0.
cd logo logo stepX_YYY.lg
Running the Lua implementation of mal requires lua 5.1 or later, luarocks and the lua-rex-pcre library installed.
cd lua make # to build and link linenoise.so ./stepX_YYY.lua
Running the mal implementation of mal involves running stepA of one of the other implementations and passing the mal step to run as a command line argument.
cd IMPL IMPL_STEPA_CMD ../mal/stepX_YYY.mal
GNU Make 3.81
cd make make -f stepX_YYY.mk
The NASM implementation was created by Ben Dudson
The NASM implementation of mal is written for x86-64 Linux, and has been tested with Linux 3.16.0-4-amd64 and NASM version 2.11.05.
cd nasm make ./stepX_YYY
The Nim implementation was created by Dennis Felsing (def-)
The Nim implementation of mal has been tested with Nim 0.17.0.
cd nim make # OR nimble build ./stepX_YYY
The Object Pascal implementation of mal has been built and tested on Linux using the Free Pascal compiler version 2.6.2 and 2.6.4.
cd objpascal make ./stepX_YYY
The Objective C implementation of mal has been built and tested on Linux using clang/LLVM 3.6. It has also been built and tested on OS X using XCode 7.
cd objc make ./stepX_YYY
The OCaml implementation was created by Chris Houser (chouser)
cd ocaml make ./stepX_YYY
MatLab (GNU Octave and MATLAB)
The MatLab implementation has been tested with GNU Octave 4.2.1. It has also been tested with MATLAB version R2014a on Linux. Note that MATLAB is a commercial product.
cd matlab ./stepX_YYY octave -q --no-gui --no-history --eval "stepX_YYY();quit;" matlab -nodisplay -nosplash -nodesktop -nojvm -r "stepX_YYY();quit;" # OR with command line arguments octave -q --no-gui --no-history --eval "stepX_YYY('arg1','arg2');quit;" matlab -nodisplay -nosplash -nodesktop -nojvm -r "stepX_YYY('arg1','arg2');quit;"
cd miniMAL # Download miniMAL and dependencies npm install export PATH=`pwd`/node_modules/minimal-lisp/:$PATH # Now run mal implementation in miniMAL miniMAL ./stepX_YYY
For readline line editing support, install Term::ReadLine::Perl or Term::ReadLine::Gnu from CPAN.
cd perl perl stepX_YYY.pl
The Perl 6 implementation was created by Hinrik Örn Sigurðsson
The Perl 6 implementation was tested on Rakudo Perl 6 2016.04.
cd perl6 perl6 stepX_YYY.pl
The PHP implementation of mal requires the php command line interface to run.
cd php php stepX_YYY.php
The Picolisp implementation was created by Vasilij Schneidermann
The Picolisp implementation requires libreadline and Picolisp 3.1.11 or later.
cd picolisp ./run
PL/pgSQL (Postgres SQL Procedural Language)
The PL/pgSQL implementation of mal requires a running Postgres server (the "kanaka/mal-test-plpgsql" docker image automatically starts a Postgres server). The implementation connects to the Postgres server and create a database named "mal" to store tables and stored procedures. The wrapper script uses the psql command to connect to the server and defaults to the user "postgres" but this can be overridden with the PSQL_USER environment variable. A password can be specified using the PGPASSWORD environment variable. The implementation has been tested with Postgres 9.4.
cd plpgsql ./wrap.sh stepX_YYY.sql # OR PSQL_USER=myuser PGPASSWORD=mypass ./wrap.sh stepX_YYY.sql
PL/SQL (Oracle SQL Procedural Language)
The PL/pgSQL implementation of mal requires a running Oracle DB server (the "kanaka/mal-test-plsql" docker image automatically starts an Oracle Express server). The implementation connects to the Oracle server to create types, tables and stored procedures. The default SQLPlus logon value (username/password@connect_identifier) is "system/oracle" but this can be overridden with the ORACLE_LOGON environment variable. The implementation has been tested with Oracle Express Edition 11g Release 2. Note that any SQLPlus connection warnings (user password expiration, etc) will interfere with the ability of the wrapper script to communicate with the DB.
cd plsql ./wrap.sh stepX_YYY.sql # OR ORACLE_LOGON=myuser/mypass@ORCL ./wrap.sh stepX_YYY.sql
Postscript Level 2/3
The Postscript implementation of mal requires ghostscript to run. It has been tested with ghostscript 9.10.
cd ps gs -q -dNODISPLAY -I./ stepX_YYY.ps
The PowerShell implementation of mal requires the PowerShell script language. It has been tested with PowerShell 6.0.0 Alpha 9 on Linux.
cd powershell powershell ./stepX_YYY.ps1
Python (2.X and 3.X)
cd python python stepX_YYY.py
cd rpython make # this takes a very long time ./stepX_YYY
The R implementation of mal requires R (r-base-core) to run.
cd r make libs # to download and build rdyncall Rscript stepX_YYY.r
The Racket implementation of mal requires the Racket compiler/interpreter to run.
cd racket ./stepX_YYY.rkt
The Rexx implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Rexx implementation of mal has been tested with Regina Rexx 3.6.
cd rexx make rexx -a ./stepX_YYY.rexxpp
cd ruby ruby stepX_YYY.rb
Rust (1.0.0 nightly)
The rust implementation of mal requires the rust compiler and build tool (cargo) to build.
cd rust cargo run --release --bin stepX_YYY
Install scala and sbt (http://www.scala-sbt.org/0.13/tutorial/Installing-sbt-on-Linux.html):
cd scala sbt 'run-main stepX_YYY' # OR sbt compile scala -classpath target/scala*/classes stepX_YYY
The Scheme implementation was created by Vasilij Schneidermann
The Scheme implementation of mal has been tested with Chibi-Scheme 0.7.3, Kawa 2.4, Gauche 0.9.5, CHICKEN 4.11.0, Sagittarius 0.8.3, Cyclone 0.6.3 (Git version) and Foment 0.4 (Git version). You should be able to get it running on other conforming R7RS implementations after figuring out how libraries are loaded and adjusting the
run script accordingly.
cd scheme make symlinks # chibi scheme_MODE=chibi ./run # kawa make kawa scheme_MODE=kawa ./run # gauche scheme_MODE=gauche ./run # chicken make chicken scheme_MODE=chicken ./run # sagittarius scheme_MODE=sagittarius ./run # cyclone make cyclone scheme_MODE=cyclone ./run # foment scheme_MODE=foment ./run
The Skew implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Skew implementation of mal has been tested with Skew 0.7.42.
cd skew make node stepX_YYY.js
The Swift implementation was created by Keith Rollin
The Swift implementation of mal requires the Swift 2.0 compiler (XCode 7.0) to build. Older versions will not work due to changes in the language and standard library.
cd swift make ./stepX_YYY
The Swift 3 implementation of mal requires the Swift 3.0 compiler. It has been tested with Swift 3 Preview 3.
cd swift3 make ./stepX_YYY
The Tcl implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Tcl implementation of mal requires Tcl 8.6 to run. For readline line editing support, install tclreadline.
cd tcl tclsh ./stepX_YYY.tcl
The TypeScript implementation was created by vvakame
The TypeScript implementation of mal requires the TypeScript 2.2 compiler. It has been tested with Node.js v6.
cd ts make node ./stepX_YYY.js
The VHDL implementation was created by Dov Murik
The VHDL implementation of mal has been tested with GHDL 0.29.
cd vhdl make ./run_vhdl.sh ./stepX_YYY
The Vimscript implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Vimscript implementation of mal requires Vim 8.0 to run.
cd vimscript ./run_vimscript.sh ./stepX_YYY.vim
The VB.NET implementation of mal has been tested on Linux using the Mono VB compiler (vbnc) and the Mono runtime (version 184.108.40.206). Both are required to build and run the VB.NET implementation.
cd vb make mono ./stepX_YYY.exe
The Yorick implementation was created by Dov Murik
The Yorick implementation of mal was tested on Yorick 2.2.04.
cd yorick yorick -batch ./stepX_YYY.i
The are over 600 generic functional tests (for all implementations) in the
tests/ directory. Each step has a corresponding test file containing tests specific to that step. The
runtest.py test harness launches a Mal step implementation and then feeds the tests one at a time to the implementation and compares the output/return value to the expected output/return value.
To simplify the process of running tests, a top level Makefile is provided with convenient test targets.
- To run all the tests across all implementations (be prepared to wait):
- To run all tests against a single implementation:
make "test^IMPL" # e.g. make "test^clojure" make "test^js"
- To run tests for a single step against all implementations:
make "test^stepX" # e.g. make "test^step2" make "test^step7"
- To run tests for a specific step against a single implementation:
make "test^IMPL^stepX" # e.g make "test^ruby^step3" make "test^ps^step4"
Self-hosted functional tests
- To run the functional tests in self-hosted mode, you specify
malas the test implementation and use the
make MAL_IMPL=IMPL "test^mal^step2" # e.g. make "test^mal^step2" # js is default make MAL_IMPL=ruby "test^mal^step2" make MAL_IMPL=python "test^mal^step2"
Starting the REPL
- To start the REPL of an implementation in a specific step:
make "repl^IMPL^stepX" # e.g make "repl^ruby^step3" make "repl^ps^step4"
- If you omit the step, then
make "repl^IMPL" # e.g make "repl^ruby" make "repl^ps"
- To start the REPL of the self-hosted implementation, specify
malas the REPL implementation and use the
make MAL_IMPL=IMPL "repl^mal^stepX" # e.g. make "repl^mal^step2" # js is default make MAL_IMPL=ruby "repl^mal^step2" make MAL_IMPL=python "repl^mal"
Warning: These performance tests are neither statistically valid nor comprehensive; runtime performance is a not a primary goal of mal. If you draw any serious conclusions from these performance tests, then please contact me about some amazing oceanfront property in Kansas that I'm willing to sell you for cheap.
- To run performance tests against a single implementation:
make "perf^IMPL" # e.g. make "perf^js"
- To run performance tests against all implementations:
Generating language statistics
- To report line and byte statistics for a single implementation:
make "stats^IMPL" # e.g. make "stats^js"
- To report line and bytes statistics for general Lisp code (env, core and stepA):
make "stats-lisp^IMPL" # e.g. make "stats-lisp^js"
Every implementation directory contains a Dockerfile to create a docker image containing all the dependencies for that implementation. In addition, the top-level Makefile contains support for running the tests target (and perf, stats, repl, etc) within a docker container for that implementation by passing "DOCKERIZE=1" on the make command line. For example:
make DOCKERIZE=1 "test^js^step3"
Existing implementations already have docker images built and pushed to the docker registry. However, if you wish to build or rebuild a docker image locally, the toplevel Makefile provides a rule for building docker images:
- Docker images are named "kanaka/mal-test-IMPL"
- JVM-based language implementations (Groovy, Java, Clojure, Scala): you will probably need to run these implementations once manually first (make DOCKERIZE=1 "repl^IMPL")before you can run tests because runtime dependencies need to be downloaded to avoid the tests timing out. These dependencies are download to dot-files in the /mal directory so they will persist between runs.
Projects using mal
- malc - Mal (Make A Lisp) compiler. Compiles a Mal program to LLVM assembly language, then binary.
- frock - Clojure-flavoured PHP. Uses mal/php to run programs.
Mal (make-a-lisp) is licensed under the MPL 2.0 (Mozilla Public License 2.0). See LICENSE.txt for more details.