I saw an article on IBM Developerworks about Cusp, an IDE for Lisp. Written by a student of Computer Science who obviously first saw Lisp last semester, it made me chuckle a little bit.
"Its strength is in the processing of lists: AI and symbol mathematics."
"You'll notice that Lisp is not at all like other general programming languages. For example, in most general programming languages, you perform multiplication just as you would on paper: int times = 5 * 5;."
(Sorry, but I don't write "int times = 5 * 5;" on paper... perhaps he meant 5×5?)
"Note that the above method actually defines a type string. Up to now, you've been using Lisp as a largely typeless language. Though the double quotes implicitly types data as strings, the above method explicitly types both the input and output to the concat2 function as strings."
(Me no speak good English? Does anybody proofread this stuff or do they nod and smile, looking all impressed at this kid's Lisp knowledge?)
The lack of attention to detail also becomes apparent when he can't even get a simple recursive function right near the end.
The article misses out on all the important features that Cusp offers which make it a serious alternative to SLIME with Emacs: cross-referencing, code completion, navigation, etc. Instead we get a "AI using recursion and linked lists" article.
Most of the links at the end are not very useful either. You have a link to the wikipedia article on Lisp, a paper from 1979, and about 30 Eclipse links. There's also a link to Paul Graham, who nowadays is more of a crazy rich guy with money than a programmer.
Ironically, the one relevant link, Programming Lisp with Cusp, is actually about a thousand times more informative and better written than the Developerworks article is.
Now, the paranoid Lisp zealots like to chalk things like this up to semi-deliberate attempts at smearing Lisp. However, I know that Developerworks articles on Java are just as bad, if not worse. Hell, any Developerworks article, on any topic, is usually extremely useless, misleading and poorly written.
This is just another case of a "by idiots, for idiots" type situation. if you want to learn how to program like IBM's finest enterprise drones, look no further than IBM Developerworks.
If they want to be taken seriously, they need to put some basic editorial standards in place. There needs to be a distinction between a blog and a site like this; the latter should not just be a mass blog orgy.