Chez Scheme has to be the easiest, most consistent Windows friendly Scheme interpreter I’ve used. Of course, I’ve only otherwise tried MIT Scheme (and CLisp – which is epic crap).

If you want to start learning Scheme (or Lisp – I suggest Scheme), then Chez is the way to go. I’m still not very good with Scheme, and my code is not very idiomatic, mainly due to the absolute poverty of learning resources for Scheme and LISP in general.

A good resource for learning scheme is Schemers, which I find pretty helpful. Probably the most effective and useful text on Scheme or LISP I’ve ever read is The Little Schemer, it doesn’t seem like it will help at first, but about halfway through the book you’ll wonder why other language texts aren’t similar. Another great book for understanding LISPs in general is Common LISP: A gentle introduction to symbolic computation.

One central feature to these books is that they won’t teach you “how to get shit done” in Scheme or LISP. There’s a basic disconnect between LISP in theory and LISP in practice. You can pick up Practical Common LISP, which is misnamed in the extreme. You can also read it online for free.

Let me ask you, when is the last time you wrong a database of your own MP3s? I didn’t think so. How often do you write HTML compilers? Didn’t think so.

Here are the things I do often:

  1. Write a csv parser that injects 100k+ items into a MySQL Database because the columns are janky/custom.
  2. Write a script to iterate over 100k rows and modify the title/name/x-field because the client screwed up the original csv import and now the application API calls to XYZ are rejected because of bad characters.
  3. Write a new cron script that does x, y and sometimes z even 10 hours
  4. Read data from XYZ datasource (DB, CSV, Flatfile) and perform some repetitive transformation.
  5. Generate thousands of lines of boiler plate code for Framework X in language Y because a customer insists on deploying an app with that Language/Framework
  6. Produce destructable XML/JSON templates for some inconsistent hair brained SOAP API, or JSON API

Yeah. Not too many MP3 databases. I’ve been programming for over 15 years. Never wrote one yet.