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Developer Xanalys (2001–2005)
LispWorks Ltd. (2005—)
First appeared 1989; 29 years ago (1989)
Stable release
7.1 / November 13, 2017; 7 months ago (2017-11-13)
Platform IA-32, x64, ARM, SPARC, PowerPC
OS Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and AIX, Android, iOS

LispWorks is a commercial implementation and integrated development environment (IDE) for the Common Lisp programming language. LispWorks was developed by the UK software company Harlequin Ltd., and first published in 1989.[1] Harlequin ultimately spun off its Lisp arm as Xanalys, which took over management and rights to LispWorks. In January 2005, the Xanalys Lisp team formed LispWorks Ltd. to market, develop, and support the LispWorks software.

Some of LispWorks's features are

  • a native-code compiler and an interpreter for an extended ANSI Common Lisp
  • an implementation of the Common Lisp Object System with support for the Metaobject protocol
  • support for 32bit and 64bit versions
  • native threads and symmetric multiprocessing
  • Unicode support: it can read and write Unicode files and supports strings encoded in Unicode
  • Foreign Language Interface (FFI) for interfacing with routines written in C
  • a Java interface
  • the Common Application Programmer's Interface (CAPI) GUI toolkit, which provides native look-and-feel on Windows, Cocoa, GTK+ and Motif
  • an Emacs-like editor (source code is included in the Professional edition)
  • a Lisp Listener,[2] which provides a Common Lisp Read Eval Print Loop
  • a graphical debugger, inspector, stepper, profiler, class browser, etc.
  • a facility to generate standalone executables and shared libraries. To reduce memory size, a tree shaker can be used to remove unused code and data.
  • on Mac OS X it provides a bridge to Objective-C for using Apple's Cocoa libraries
  • many of the libraries are written using the Common Lisp Object System and can be extended by the user (by writing subclasses and new methods)

The Enterprise edition also includes KnowledgeWorks, which supports rule-based programming (including support for Prolog); the CommonSQL database interface; and a CORBA binding.

In September 2009, it had been announced that LispWorks 6 would support concurrent threads and the CAPI graphics toolkit has been extended to support GTK+.[3] LispWorks 6.1, released in January 2012,[4] includes many further enhancements to CAPI, such as support for anti-aliased drawing.

LispWorks ran on the spacecraft Deep Space 1. The application called RAX won the NASA Software of the Year award in 1999.[5]


Date Version Company Notes
1987 alpha Harlequin Started by the British company Harlequin
12 Sep 1989 1.0 Harlequin GUI with CLX, CLUE and LispWorks toolkit
Dec 1991 3.0 Harlequin
17 Mar 1997 4.0 Harlequin for Windows, GUI with CAPI
6 Jan 1999 4.1 Harlequin with CORBA
19 Feb 2001 4.1.20 Xanalys
19 Dec 2001 4.2 Xanalys no runtime fees for applications on Microsoft Windows
5 May 2002 4.2.6 Xanalys
30 Jun 2003 4.3 Xanalys first release for Mac OS X, with Cocoa support
8 Dec 2004 4.4 Xanalys
15 Apr 2005 4.4.5 LispWorks Ltd
31 Jul 2006 5.0 LispWorks Ltd
27 Mar 2008 5.1 LispWorks Ltd
6 Jan 2010 6.0 LispWorks Ltd with symmetric multiprocessing
27 Jan 2012 6.1 LispWorks Ltd
5 May 2015 7.0 LispWorks Ltd[6] ARM Linux, iOS, Android, full Unicode, Hobbyist Edition
13 Nov 2017 7.1 LispWorks Ltd[7] 64-bit iOS, ARM64 Linux

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LispWorks 1.0 released in 1989". 
  2. ^ The Listener, LispWorks 7.0, LispWorks IDE User Guide
  3. ^ "LispWorks 6.0 beta announcement". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  4. ^ "Release of LispWorks 6.1". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  5. ^ "NASA Software of the Year award for Harlequin based development" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  6. ^ "Release of LispWorks 7.0". Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  7. ^ "Release of LispWorks 7.1". Retrieved 2018-03-07.