From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)John C. Mallery
Initial release1994; 29 years ago (1994)
Written inCommon Lisp
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeWeb Server
LicenseProprietary[dead link]

CL-HTTP is a web server, client and proxy written in Common Lisp. It is based on its own web application framework. It was written by John C. Mallery "in about 10 days"[1] starting in 1994 on a Symbolics Lisp Machine. In the same year a port to Macintosh Common Lisp was done. In 1996 CL-HTTP became the first web server to support the HTTP 1.1 protocol.[2] It runs on Unix, Linux, BSD variants, Mac OS X, Solaris, Symbolics Genera and Microsoft Windows.

CL-HTTP makes extensive use of the Common Lisp Object System and the macro capabilities of Lisp.[3]


CL-HTTP has been used in several applications. ELM-ART is a tutoring system written in Common Lisp using CL-HTTP.[4] It was later commercialized as NetCoach.[5] InterBook is an early adaptive electronic textbook, also written on top of CL-HTTP.[6] Cl-HTTP has been used very early as a tool to create web interfaces for applications.[7][8][9][10]

In 1994, CL-HTTP was used by the W3C and other members of the IETF HTTP working group to develop reference clients and servers for HTTP 1.1.[11]

Most prominently, CL-HTTP was used during the presidency of Bill Clinton as the web server for the White House Publications web site. It distributed the daily press releases and official publications of the Clinton Administration.[12]

CL-HTTP has been used as an example of a non-trivial Lisp application.[13]


  • Object-oriented architecture using the Common Lisp Object System
  • SSL support
  • Server
    • Handling of static files
    • Computed content, Computed forms
    • HTML generation with Lisp macros
    • Virtual servers
    • Web page access authentication
    • Custom logging
    • Server-side includes
  • Caching Proxy
  • Client


  1. ^ "CL-HTTP History". Archived from the original on 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  2. ^ "ANNOUNCE: Common Lisp Web Server (60.57)".
  3. ^ Mallery, John C. (May 25, 1994). A Common LISP Hypermedia Server. Proceedings of the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web. Geneva: CERN.
  4. ^ Brusilovsky, Peter; Schwarz, Elmar; Weber, Gerhard (1996). "ELM-ART: An intelligent tutoring system on world wide web". Intelligent Tutoring Systems. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 1086/1996. Springer. pp. 261–269. doi:10.1007/3-540-61327-7_123. ISBN 978-3-540-61327-5.
  5. ^ Weber, Gerhard; Kuhl, Hans-Christian; Weibelzahl, Stephan (2002). Developing Adaptive Internet Based Courses with the Authoring System NetCoach. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 2266/2002.
  6. ^ Brusilovsky, Peter; Schwarz, Elmar; Weber, Gerhard (October 15–19, 1996). A Tool for Developing Adaptive Electronic Textbooks on WWW. WebNet 96 Conference Proceedings. San Francisco, CA.
  7. ^ Davies, Byron; Davies, Victoria Bryan (May 1997). "Patching onto the Web: Common LISP hypermedia for the intranet". Communications of the ACM. 40 (5): 66–69. doi:10.1145/253769.253794. S2CID 18764239.
  8. ^ Taube, Heinrich; Kunze, Tobias (1997). An HTTP Interface to Common Music. International Computer Music Conference. doi:10.2307/3681213. JSTOR 3681213.
  9. ^ Welty, Christopher A. "An HTML Interface for Classic". Proceedings of the 1996 Description Logic Workshop (DL'96). AAAI Press. WS-96-05 in AAAI Technical Report.
  10. ^ Rahkila, M.; Karjalainen, M. (1997). An interactive DSP tutorial on the Web. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing. Vol. ICASSP-97. Espoo: Lab. of Acoust. & Audio Signal Process., Helsinki Univ. of Technol. CiteSeerX
  11. ^ "CL-HTTP History". Archived from the original on 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  12. ^ "CL-HTTP was fielded in 1994 to serve the White House Publications System". Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  13. ^ Dozsa, A.; Gtrba, T.; Marinescu, R. (2008). How Lisp Systems Look Different. 12th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering. Vol. CSMR 2008. Timișoara: Politeh. Univ. of Timișoara. pp. 223–232. doi:10.1109/CSMR.2008.4493317. ISBN 978-1-4244-2157-2. S2CID 6368390.

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