Comparing FEMLISP with other PDE toolboxes, we observe the following
advantages which cannot be easily obtained using conventional languages
like Fortran, C, or C++:
- FEMLISP is interactive. Toolboxes written in
conventional languages have to implement this feature themselves or to
be linked with some scripting language like Perl or Python. In either
case, an artificial interface between scripting level and application
language appears, which is not easy to maintain.
- The editor is integrated in a way that is very difficult to achieve
for conventional languages. For example, argument lists of functions
appear when typing, and the documentation of functions and variables is
available at a keystroke. Also, the debug cycle is as short as it can
possibly be: changing a function, recompiling it separately, and testing
it in the running environment is usually a matter of only a few
keystrokes and fractions of a second.
- Lisp is very expressive, and programming techniques can be used which
would introduce a large overhead in conventional languages. This leads
to a concise representation of the underlying mathematical ideas and
therefore to a very short and maintainable source code. To achieve
maximum benefit, the FEMLISP source code is available under a liberal
open source license.