Edit your code from REPL.

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Sanel Zukan.



Magic (ed)

Magic (ed) is a tiny editing facility for Common Lisp, where you can directly load, edit, manipulate and evaluate file or file content from REPL.

I find myself often running the REPL for various things but lazy enough to engage Emacs/SLIME when I need just a small edit: I'm a UNIX guy and I got used to start vi/vim/emacsclient for writing small throw-away programs.

This package also can be a starting point for people who are not accustomed to Emacs or SLIME and would like to continue using their default terminal/console editor with Common Lisp.

Quickinstall and start

Install via Quicklisp, which updates distro about once a month.

(ql:quickload "magic-ed")

For simple editing from the REPL, launch your system configured EDitor

(ed "file-name.lisp")

For the daily updates track, install via Ultralisp. You can also install manually. See instructions for other installation options and use below.


You start it with:

(magic-ed:magic-ed "/tmp/test.lisp")

and it will start editor assigned to EDITOR environment variable. When you are done with editing, save it and quit: magic-ed will load that file and evaluate it. If file saving somehow failed, nothing will be evaluated.

In background, magic-ed will try to use (ed) standard function and will try to obey implementation specific features. For example, in SBCL, if sb-ext:*ed-functions* was set, magic-ed will not use environment value.

If you do not want edited file to be evaluated, you use :eval parameter like:

(magic-ed:magic-ed "/tmp/test.lisp" :eval nil)

and file will be only saved. Also, if you would like file content to be returned as escaped string, use :output parameter (accepts only :file and :string):

(setf content (magic-ed:magic-ed "/tmp/test.lisp" :output :string))

Installation options

First setup EDITOR environment variable to point to your favorite editor (on *nix, often nano or vi, distribution dependent config and change) and download magic-ed code via Quicklisp, Ultralisp, or manually (clone it from this repository).

Ultralisp via Quicklisp

Magic-ed is available on Ultralisp. Ultralisp updates more often than Quicklisp, so this install is recommended.

Install Quicklisp, install Ultralisp. Then use the standard Quicklisp installation method.

Manual download or via Quicklisp

Do an update of the QL database and install:

(ql:update-dist "quicklisp")
(ql:quickload "magic-ed")


(asdf:load-system :magic-ed)

Manual install:

Download or git clone magic-ed to Your quicklisp directory manually
( usually ~/quicklisp/local-projects/ )

For example, execute in terminal:

cd ~/quicklisp/local-projects/

git clone 

Then, launch Your Common Lisp of choice and in the REPL:

(ql:quickload :magic-ed)

Automatic loading on REPL start with Quicklisp

Update Your Common Lisp configuration, adding the following line to the same file responcible for loading quicklisp on start.

In SBCL: edit Your ~/.sbclrc and add to the end, after ql lines:

(ql:quickload :magic-ed)


The magic-ed code was tested on SBCL, ECL, Clozure CL and CMUCL.


Copyright (c) 2013-2020 Sanel Zukan. You can use this code however you like, in accordance with the MIT license.

Dependencies (0)

    Dependents (0)

      • GitHub
      • Quicklisp