3. Strings and Characters

Whereas “computing” was mostly about numbers in its earlier days, strings and characters are ubiquitous now—just think about XML and Internet protocols like HTTP. In COMMON LISP, characters, as well as strings, are first-class data types.

The ANSI COMMON LISP standard was finalized before there was a usable Unicode standard; it gives much leeway to implementors about how they want to represent and support strings and characters. But now that Unicode seems to be widely adopted, most Lisps have full Unicode support. It is a testament to the foresight of the ANSI committee that this was possible without breaking adherence to the standard. COMMON LISP never felt tempted to identify characters with numbers or deal with “convenient” ...

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