RUTILS is a syntactic utilities package for Common Lisp

(that aims to radically simplify the Lisp programmer's life both in the REPL and in large system development)


See the announcement.

Short history

Originally, RUTILS stood for REASONABLE-UTILITIES, but now I switched to calling them RADICAL-UTILITIES, because they make some uncommon and not generally acceptable choices in terms of style of CL development. Namely:

  • Introducing several literal notations for anonymous functions, hash-tables, heredoc-strings etc.
  • Adding a lot of abbreviations of long symbols from the CL package
  • Having several versions of the same utilities with different names

But, what's more important, they aim to radically simplify Lisp programming in the small (with a special accent on simplifying REPL-driven development).

See the original rationale for REASONABLE-UTILITIES.

Brief description

Included in core

  • "Modern" readtable with support for literal syntax for hash-tables, lambdas and heredoc-strings

Basic common control utilities, like

  • Common macros like WITH-GENSYMS, ONCE-ONLY, EVAL-ALWAYS etc.
  • Basic anaphoric macros
  • Symbol manipulation utilities
  • List manipulation utilities
  • Sequence manipulation utilities (including SPLIT-SEQUENCE, or rather, simply SPLIT)
  • Hash-table manipulation utilities
  • String manipulation utilities
  • Tree manipulation utilities
  • A simple pair data structure and accompanying utilities

Included in contrib (RUTILSX)

  • generic access to elements of any data structure: GENERIC-ELT/?
  • ITER macro with keywords support
  • generic BIND
  • Clojure-style threading macros -> and ->>

Explicitly not supported

The following broad topics are not supported by design:

  • Concurrency.

The reason is not, that I consider this not useful or general-purpose enough, but rather, that it's a whole new paradigm, and the scope of RUTILS is too small to comfortably accommodate it.

  • Functional paradigm.

As in the above, it's as well a whole other paradigm. It has a limited, but reasonable support in CL. Other features should be unified in it's own package, and maybe RUTILS can serve as a model for such package or even accommodate it in the future.

  • Advanced collections are as well a separate area in CS, so it requires a lot of effort to maintain and develop a comprehensive package in it.

Look at FSET and CL-CONTAINERS for such things.

  • MOP. MOP abstraction layer is a CDR and it is as well an essential part of CL. It is implemented and well supported by CLOSER-MOP.

Technical notes


Exported features

The following symbols are added to *FEATURES*:

  • :split-sequence (by RUTILS.SEQUENCE, RUTILS, and RUTIL)
  • :iter (by RUTILSX.ITER and RUTILSX)

Organizational notes

  1. 2009-2014, Vsevolod Dyomkin

See LICENSE for usage permissions. See AUTHORS for credits.

Vsevolod Dyomkin <>
Vsevolod Dyomkin <>
3-clause MIT licence