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On setting up SLIME w Aquamacs

December 10, 2011

Frank Sinatra sang, “regrets I have a few”. I don’t have a few, I got a plenty. One of them is that I should have learned Lisp earlier. It is a fun language to play with and when you are programming, you need a handy text editor to be productive. Emacs and Xemacs as text editors run on Mac OS X, but between the two, I like Xemacs because of the graphical features. So I have used it in my career for many years. Now the Emacs version that has been tailored to fit with Mac OS nicely is Aquamacs. Hence, we can ask what sort of Lisp support can Aquamacs provide a Lisper.

There is an Emacs plug in that can turn any Emacs variety into a Lisp IDE, and that is SLIME. So the logical step is to install Slime into Aquamacs., so the Lisper can capitalize on it capabilities. For instance, we want to execute our Lisp program right inside the editor so we do not have to do any context switching.  Slime will deliver this to us through Aquamacs.  Now the Aquamacs documentation says there is a package already for Slime so all you do is download this tar file and untar it and click on the pkg to install Slime on your Aquamacs. Well, it does not work for me. I do not know where it puts Slime so this short post is how to nevertheless install Slime.

Here are the steps.

  1. Download the Slime Emacs Lisp package from here.
  2. Configure your .emacs start up file
  3. Run Aquamacs
  4. Run Slim

First download the Slime Emacs Lisp package, then untar this and put it in a directory of your choice; but remember this path because you will need this in step two.

Modify your .emacs which is located in your home directory. Note the red comments. Click on the image for an enlarged view. You must put the Lisp compiler you will be using, i.e the full path, then also the place where you extracted the Slime Emacs Lisp files from step 1, remember?

My .emacs configuration

Start up now your Aquamacs, and when settled, do ESC-X then type the word “slime”. It will activate Slime mode and you will see a bunch of messages like that shown below (click to enlarge). That command brings up the **internal-lisp** buffer so your CL can talk to you.

Messages from the slime install

Finally, the Lisp interaction screen pops up ready for you to type your Lisp command. This happens all in inside Aquamacs. Click the image to enlarge.   Could you please let me know  if this has helped by leaving a comment?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    December 11, 2011 12:19 am

    There’s also a point-and-click installer for SLIME on the Aquamacs website.

    • December 11, 2011 12:29 am

      Yeah I know, but that did not work for me and my Mac. Hence for my post.


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