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          Welcome to the Genworks® GDL and Gendl® Environment

                     GDL1591-devo (nightly pre-release build)

Release Schedule

2016-12-15: GDL1588 will be sunsetted.

2017-01-15: GDL1592 release

2017-12-15: GDL1590 will be sunsetted.

2018-01-15: The next major GDL release will be made available (number


          Welcome to the Genworks® GDL and Gendl® Environment


After some time, you should see a "GDL-USER>" command prompt.

A web server also starts by default on port 9000 (or the next
available port above 9000) of the local host, which allows you to
visit, for example:


If you accept the default robot:assembly, then click the hover-over
"pencil" icon next to the robot in the tree, you should see a
wireframe rendering of a simplified android robot.

See "Troubleshooting" below if you experience trouble starting up.


The function (update-gdl) will pull down a bootstrap file which knows
how to fetch and install the currently available patches for this
version of GDL. (Note: this is not yet functional in this release).


 The following manual is currently available in PDF format:

Authoring GDL Code

Gnu Emacs

All things considered, Gnu Emacs is the most powerful, portable, and
risk-free IDE (Integrated Development Environment) available for
working with Lisp-based systems like GDL. Spending some time getting
familiar with Gnu Emacs is perhaps the best small investment you can

If you are new to Emacs, you can get a general Emacs Tutorial under
the Help menu above. After completing the Tutorial, try to practice
what you learned by forcing yourself not to use the mouse too much in

Touch-typing ability is definitely an asset for GDL development, but
with auto-completion of symbols (possible with M-/ -- you'll know what
that means after looking at the tutorial) it is possible to become a
world-class GDL developer without having world-class typing speed.

It is strongly recommended to map your Caps Lock key to be a Control
key. This will allow you to use all the Emacs navigation keystrokes
without constantly curling your left little finger down to the Control
key.  For Linux and Mac, this is easy to do in your System
Preferences. For Windows, here are some resources which can help you
do this:

Note that if you are running Windows in a Virtual Machine hosted under
MacOS or Linux, it is sufficient to map the Caps Lock to to Control in
the host system.

Finally, please see the Genworks Documentation (URL below) for some
screen-cast videos on using Emacs in the GDL environment.

Learning GDL and Documentation

Absolutely the best way to learn GDL is to dive in and start using
it for small exercises and projects.

The work-in-progress tutorial.pdf is published here:

Other Documentation:

 Then click the link for Documentation, which contains lecture slides
 and videos.

 Additionally, reference documentation is available "live" from your
 running system, at



  When you have had enough of using GDL with Slime, you should do
  two things:

 1. Visit the *slime-repl ...* buffer with C-x C-&

 2. Type ,q (just a comma then the letter "q") to quit the GDL
    session. This will not quit Emacs.

 3. (optional) type 

        C-x C-c (that's Control-x, Control-c) 

    to kill the Emacs process and exit the window.
 3. If you kept Emacs up and running, it is possible to restart the
    GDL session again with: 

       M-x gdl

Customizing Emacs

If a file exists in your home directory called ".emacs-glime" this
will be loaded upon startup. You can put any custom emacs-lisp code in
this file to customize your startup (see below for an example to
customize the color theme).

You can always find out where Emacs thinks is your home directory's
location by typing

  C-x d ~/ <Enter>

This should present the list of files in the home directory, and show
its full name on the first line. Likewise, to visit your init file,

   C-x C-f ~/.emacs-gendl <Enter>.

Color Themes

GDL ships with the color-theme package for Gnu emacs:

You can select any of the themes from color-theme with 

  M-x color-theme-select

(Click on the color theme you want to select then press <Enter>).

To set a color theme automatically, put something like the following
at the end of your ~/.emacs-gendl :


Emacs Keychord Reference

The following is a reference for the Emacs keychords which are
commonly used when working with GDL. They will be understandable after
you have completed the Emacs Tutorial mentioned above. If you force
yourself to use these for a few days, they will quickly feel natural.

;; Backing out of a command (important! use this whenever you are lost)

C-g  : quit the active command (use this if you ever get confused)

;; Navigating Through the Buffer

C-n   : next line
C-p   : previous line
C-f   : forward char
M-f   : forward word
C-M-f : forward s-expression
C-b   : backward char
M-b   : backward word
C-M-b : backward s-expression
C-a   : begin of line
C-e   : end of line

;; Auto-completion

M-/    : complete word

C-c ]  : "super-bracket" -- close parens to enclosing toplevel.

;; Copying, Cutting, Pasting, working with Lisp S-expressions

C-d         : delete character
M-d         : delete word
C-M-k       : kill s-expression
C-<space>   : begins a selection
C-M-<space> : selects current sexpression
M-w         : copies selection
C-w         : cuts selection
C-y         : yanks (pastes) the selection
M-y         : yanks previous 
C-k         : kills current line
C-x u       : Undo!
M-<space>   : removes all but one whitespace under point.
M-\         : removes all whitespace under point.

;; Indenting

C-M-q indents entire expression  (with cursor on opening parenthesis)

C-q indents and word-wraps a paragraph of text to reasonable line

;; Working with Files & Buffers

C-x C-b   : get list of open buffers
C-x k     : kills current buffer
C-x b     : visit other buffer (default is previous)
C-x C-s   : saves current buffer to file
C-x C-w   : saves current buffer to a new file
C-x C-f   : find file (i.e. file open)

;; Dired (Directory editor) mode

C-x C-f  to visit a directory, then <Enter> for Directory Editor (Dired)
Within Dired: 

  d  : marks file for deletion
  f  : visits the file or directory
  ~  : marks all backup files for deletion
  x  : executes pending commands (usually deletions)

;; Windows and Frames

C-x 2    : split screen into two windows
C-x 1    : make current window be the only window
C-x 0    : close current window
C-x o    : change to next window
C-x y    : change to previous window
C-x 2 5  : Open a new Frame (a new desktop window)
C-x &    : Jump to *gdl-devo* buffer

;; Command-line Shortcuts

M-p   : bring back previous command
M-n   : bring back next command

;; Compiling and Loading from Buffer

C-c C-k  : Compile Buffer  
C-c C-c  : Compile current form (e.g. define-object or defun)
C-x C-e  : Evaluate Form   (with cursor after closing parenthesis)


Quicklisp is a curated library manager which can automatically fetch
CL libraries and their dependencies from the Internet. See for more information on Quicklisp.

 the function


will load and initialize the supported version of quicklisp (which
ships with the installation) and pre-register all Gendl-related
packages so that Quicklisp will not try to fetch and reload these if
you try to (ql:quickload ...) a system which depends on them. The
version of quicklisp which ships with this release is the only
supported version of Quicklisp (to ensure library compatibility, each
GDL release is tied to a specific Quicklisp version).

Note that depending on your installation, you may not have file
permissions to write into the quicklisp directory in its default
location, i.e.  

  (merge-pathnames "quicklisp/" glisp:*gendl-home*)

In this case, you can copy (copy, not move) the quicklisp directory to
a writeable location of your choice, and specify a :path keyword
argument to load-quicklisp, e.g:

 (load-quicklisp :path "~/quicklisp/")

Note that it is a good idea to include the trailing slash in the

After doing (load-quicklisp), you can test whether Quicklisp is
functional by trying something like:

  (ql:quickload :cl-json)

Emacs Initialization and Glime

We have divided the emacs user initialiazation file into two files:

  ~/.emacs-gendl[.el] which is loaded when starting this emacs
                      environment, and 

  ~/.emacs-glime[.el] which is loaded only when starting the
                      GDL-flavored Slime environment.

In case you are wondering what "glime" actually is - this is Genworks'
extension to Slime (Superior Lisp Interaction Mode for Emacs, which we
use by default to interact with Gendl and GDL from Emacs). The idea of
Glime is that when you type

  "(the ..."  or 

   ":objects ((my-object :type 'my-object ..."  

then the emacs mini-buffer will give useful and context-sensitive
completion information similar to what it does now for standard Lisp
functions. Glime already works now to some extent, but we feel it
needs to be polished a bit more before loading it by default.

You can load Glime at any time with:

  (load (merge-pathnames "emacs/glime.lisp" glisp:*gdl-home*))

[glime needs to be loaded only on the Lisp (Swank) side, not on the
 Emacs (Slime) side].

In due course we intend to have Glime polished a bit more so it does a
better job filtering and formatting the auto-completions for messages
and object inputs, at which point it will be loaded by default in our
standard emacs initialization and we will rightfully be able to call
the whole environment "Glime."


Webserver Fails to serve on Port 9000

  First of all, you may receive a message from your Firewall asking
  for permission to unblock services from the GDL executable. You
  should grant this permission.

  If you are unable to see the following URL:


  then it is possible your machine already has another process running
  on Port 9000. For example, some online gaming software will set up a
  proxy service on this port.

  If this is the case, then you can start GDL serving on a different
  port. To do this, try the following at the "gdl-user>" command
  prompt (using port 8888 as an example):

    (gwl:start-gwl :port 8888)

 Now try visiting 


 If this works, then you can put these commands into the
 initialization file in your home directory.