A.D. Corlan > Projects > SHELISP

SHELISP: Unix shell commands from Common Lisp

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Shelisp is a very short program that provides mechanisms for composing and running Unix shell (particularly bash) commands and constructs from Common Lisp.

Essentially, it provides a '!' syntax that you can use to run commands and a '[]' embedded mode where you can enter bash scripts and obtain the standard output as a lisp string.

Lisp expressions can be included in any command or script using a '?' syntax.

The new version also includes a 'sh' macro that allows to call unix utilities directly with a syntax familiar to the lisp users.

Backward compatibility policy

We will keep the existing code untouched. New variants of any functions or macros, including dependencies, are given new names, by appending a number. Thus, existing code using shelisp should never be troubled by replacing shelisp with new releases.


The name is a contraction of 'shell-lisp' and should be pronounced as such.

The name 'shelisp' has resulted in some unintended and unanticipated odd feelings and some giggles for some probably unfounded reasons that I could not yet fully document. Pronouncing it correctly may reduce the phenomenon.


Shelisp was initially developed for CMU CommonLisp and also works in SBCL (thanks to Chris Parker) and CLISP (thanks to Kaz Kylheku).

The first release was in july 2006, under the GNU General Public Licence.

On december 5, 2011, I rereleased it under the Lisp Lesser General Public Licence that is the GNU Lesser (Library) GPL with a preamble.

There is a fork by Christian von Essen, here.

Releases are usually announced on freecode (formerly freshmeat).


Latest version (Jan 15, 2012)

[Current version, 3.2] featuring the new sh macro.

Earlier versions

[Version 3.1, dec 2011]

[Version 3.0, LLGPL, dec 2011], also the

[V2.2, GPL, aug 14, 2007]


Latest version (Jan 15, 2012)

[Manual, PDF]

Earlier version

[Manual, screen PDF] [Manual, paper PDF] [Manual, online HTML]

Cite the early version of the manual as:

Corlan, Alexandru Dan. SHELISP--A Unix shell interface for CommonLisp. 2006-08-29. URL:http://dan.corlan.net/shelisp/shelisp_manual.html. Accessed: 2011-12-05. (Archived by WebCite(R) at http://www.webcitation.org/63hc1iiVD)


Any feedback is welcome, send me a message there is also this technical discussion group:

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