Awesome Common Lisp
A curated list of awesome Common Lisp libraries.
For awesome software, see lisp-lang.org's success stories and the awesome-cl-software list.
All libraries listed here are available from Quicklisp unless
stated otherwise. The ones marked with a :star: are so widespread and
solid that they became community standards. You can't be wrong with
them. This is the case for Quicklisp, BordeauxThreads and
such. Libraries denoted with a 👍 are the ones we like and want to
promote here at the Awesome-cl list. They proved solid, they may solve
a problem better than a community standard but they aren't as
widespread, or not considered as stable. For example, we prefer
Spinneret over Cl-Who.
Add something new! See the contributing section for adding something to the
This is released under the GNU Free Documentation License - its text
is provided in the LICENSE file. This repository is also mirrored on
NotABug - a fully-free (as in libre)
alternative to Github. Preference is given to free software and
sellers who aren't evil for physical resources.
Table of Contents
- :star: ASDF - Another System Definition Facility; a build system for Common Lisp. Expat.
- asdf-linguist - Extensions for ASDF. Expat.
- asdf-viz - a tool to visualize the library dependencies of ASDF systems, the call graph of a function and the class inheritances. LLGPL.
Compilers, code generators
- cmacro - Lisp macros for C. MIT.
- C-mera - a source-to-source compiler that utilizes Lisp's macro system for meta programming of C-like languages. GPL3.
- lispc - a powerful "lispsy" macrolanguage for C. MIT.
- cl-monero-tools - Common Lisp toolbox to work with the Monero cryptocurrency. GPL3. Not in Quicklisp.
- emotiq - a next-generation blockchain with an innovative natural-language approach to smart contracts. MIT.
- peercoin-blockchain-parser - parse the blockchain contained in a file and export some of its data to a text file, a SQL script or a database. It can also create a database using the RPC of a Peercoin daemon as source of data instead of a blockchain file. LGPL3. Not in Quicklisp.
- peercoin-calculator - This program gives you the probability of generating a POS or POW block within 10 minutes, 24 hours, 31 days, 90 days and 1 year, as well as the reward that can be expected. GUI in Qt. GPL3. Not in Quicklisp.
- peercoin-vote - A voting system based on data from the blockchain (addresses and balances). GPL3. Not in Quicklisp.
Persistent object databases
- bknr.datastore - a CLOS-based lisp-only database in RAM with transaction logging persistence. licence. (see also chap. 21 of "Common Lisp Recipes")
- elephant - Elephant is a persistent object database for Common Lisp with full transaction semantics. LLGPL.
- ubiquitous - A library providing easy-to-use persistent configuration storage. Artistic License 2.0.
To third parties
- 👍 FSet - A functional, set-theoretic collections data structure library. LLGPL.
- bst - Binary Search Tree. GPL3. Not in Quicklisp.
- pileup - a portable, performant, and thread-safe binary heap for Common Lisp. MIT.
- sycamore - a fast, purely functional data structure library. BSD_3Clause.
and see more on Quickdocs.
Foreign Function Interface
- :star: CFFI - Portable, easy-to-use C foreign function interface. Expat.
- 👍cl-autowrap - Automatically parses header files into CFFI definitions. FreeBSD.
- cl+j - A JNI-based interface to a JVM via CFFI. Not available on Quicklisp. Does not reliably work with all implementations. Expat.
- Foil - A foreign object interface; works with the JVM and CLI. Not available on Quicklisp. CPL 1.0.
- objc-lisp-bridge - A portable reader and bridge for interacting with Objective-C and Cocoa. MIT.
- burgled-batteries - A bridge between Python and Common Lisp. Not available on Quicklisp. No license specified.
- Xelf - Extensible game library. Not available on Quicklisp. GNU LGPL2.1.
- Trial - Trial is an OpenGL
game engine with a heavy focus on modularity. It is supposed to
provide a large toolkit of useful bits and pieces from which you can
create a game. Artistic License 2.0.
- cl-mpg123 and
libraries for libmpg123 and libout123 respectively, giving you fast
and easy to use mp3 decoding and cross-platform audio
output. Artistic License 2.0.
- trivial-gamekit – with this small framework you would be able to make simple 2D games: draw basic geometric forms, images and text, play sounds and listen to mouse and keyboard input.
These are libraries for working with graphics, rather than making GUIs (i.e. widget toolkits), which have their own section.
- :star: SBCL - A fork of CMUCL; compiles to machine code. Standard compliance. Public domain, with some parts under Expat and 3-clause BSD.
- :star: CCL - Clozure Common Lisp; compiler-only implementation, generates native code. LLGPL.
- ECL - Embeddable Common Lisp; compiles to C. GNU LGPL2.1.
- ABCL - Armed Bear Common Lisp; targets the JVM, compiles to bytecode. Standard conformance. GNU GPL3 with Classpath exception.
- CMUCL - An implementation from Carnegie Mellon University. Public domain.
- GNU CLISP - A GNU implementation; contains a compiler and an interpreter. Standard conformance. GNU GPL3.
- CLASP - a new Common Lisp implementation that seamlessly interoperates with C++ libraries and programs using LLVM for compilation to native code. This allows Clasp to take advantage of a vast array of preexisting libraries and programs, such as out of the scientific computing ecosystem. LGPL2.1 (and others).
- Lispworks - an integrated cross-platform development tool for Common Lisp.
- Allegro CL - provides the full ANSI Common Lisp standard with many extensions.
See also this extensive comparison of JSON libraries.
- cl-yacclyaml - a pure lisp YAML processor (loader, but not yet dumper). GPL3.
- cl-yaml - a YAML parser and emitter built on top of libyaml. MIT.
- cl21 - An experimental project to move Common Lisp into the 21st century. Expat.
- :star: alexandria - A general-purpose utility library. Public domain.
- serapeum - Another general-purpose utility library. Expat.
- anaphora - A collection of anaphoric macros. Public domain.
- cl-algebraic-data-type - A library for defining algebraic data types in a similar spirit to Haskell or ML. 3-clause BSD.
- iterate - An iteration construct for Common Lisp which is extensible and Lispier. No license specified.
- for - A concise, lispy and extensible
iteration macro. Unlike loop it is extensible and sensible, and
unlike iterate it does not require code-walking and is easier to
extend. Artistic License 2.0.
- series - Functional style without any runtime penalty at all. MIT.
- :star: optima - Optimized pattern-matching library. LLGPL.
- str - a modern, simple and consistent string manipulation library. MIT.
- trivial-types - Trivial type definitions. LLGPL.
- interface - A protocol library. 3-clause BSD.
- cl-syntax - Reader syntax conventions. LLGPL.
- cl-2dsyntax - An indentation-sensitive reader system. Not available on Quicklisp. No license specified.
- cl-annot - Python-like annotations for Common Lisp. LLGPL.
- :star: cl-interpol - A set of reader modifications to allow string interpolation. No license specified.
- arrow-macros - Clojure-like threading macros. MIT.
- dissect - when a lot of
projects use the “trivial-backtrace” system that just gives them a
string with a backtrace, Dissect allows you to capture, step, and
completely inspect the stack trace on a variety of Lisp
implementations. Also very useful for logging and other situations
where execution is automatically continued, but the information of
the current stack is still useful to store
somewhere. Artistic License 2.0.
- clamp - Arc language's brevity and conciseness to Common Lisp. Artistic License 2.0.
- trivial-arguments -
A portable library to retrieve the arguments list of a function. Artistic License 2.0.
- :star: closer-mop - A compatibility layer that rectifies many absent or incorrect MOP features. Expat.
- defclass-std - a shortcut macro to write DEFCLASS forms quickly. LLGPL.
Non-deterministic, logic programming
- cl-prolog2 - Common Interface to ISO Prolog implementations from Common Lisp. MIT.
- Screamer - augment Common
Lisp with practically all of the functionality of both Prolog and
constraint logic programming
languages. Blog post
solving Project Euler puzzles. MIT.
- Screamer+ - increasing the expressiveness of SCREAMER. MIT.
- Temperance - logic programming. MIT. A focus on performance, with General Game Playing in mind.
- quid-pro-quo - a contract
programming library in the style of Eiffel’s Design by Contract ™. Public domain.
Learning and Tutorials
- Let Over Lambda - A book on advanced macro techniques. The first six chapters are available online.
- On Lisp - Paul Graham's amazing book on Lisp macros (and other interesting things).
- Common Lisp Quick Reference - A distilled, pocket-size version of the ANSI CL spec. Available for download as a PDF.
- CLHS - The Common Lisp HyperSpec; the ANSI CL standard, in hypertext form.
- CLOS MOP specification - A modern public domain online version of chapters 5 and 6 of The Art of the Metaobject Protocol
- Common Lisp Standard Draft - The final draft of the Common Lisp specifications, in a well formatted PDF.
- Common Lisp the Language - The original standard for Common Lisp before the ANSI spec.
- Minispec - A friendlier, but less-complete, version of CLHS. Also contains documentation for some commonly-used CL libraries (such as Alexandria).
- Simplified Common Lisp reference - The simplified version of CLHS.
- Quickdocs - A reference for the libraries provided by Quicklisp.
- Land of Lisp - A fun, game-oriented introduction to Common Lisp.
- Practical Common Lisp - A good introductory text to Common Lisp, with practical examples.
- Common Lisp Koans - The project guides the learner progressively through many Common Lisp language features.
- ANSI Common Lisp - A thorough, practical covering of the entire language, with exercises. Not recommended as a starter text, due to some caveats.
- Common Lisp Recipes - Common Lisp Recipes is a collection of solutions to problems and answers to questions you are likely to encounter when writing real-world applications in Common Lisp. Published in 2015.
- :star: Quicklisp - A library manager containing many libraries, with easy depencency management. Expat.
- 👍Roswell - a Lisp implementation installer, script launcher and more. MIT.
- qlot - A project-local library installer, similar to Bundler or Carton. Expat.
- Quickutil - A utility manager, similar to Quicklisp, but for small utilities rather than whole libraries. 3-clause BSD.
- Qi - A package manager with a traditionnal approach. BSD.
Interfaces to other package managers
- cl-brewer - Homebrew formula builder for (command line) common lisp applications. Public domain.
- qldeb - Quicklisp systems to debian packages, along with deb-packager (simply create a debian package by defining an s-expression) and an introductory blog post. Both MIT.
- ql-to-deb - Update cl-* debian packages from Quicklisp releases. WTFPL.
- clml - originally developped by Mathematicl Systems Inc., a Japanese company. With a tutorial. LLGPL.
- mgl - used by its author to win the Higgs Boson Machine Learning Challenge. MIT.
- antik - a foundation for scientific and engineering computation in Common Lisp. GPL. Also mgl-mat and LLA.
Credit: borretti.me' state of CL ecosystem 2015.
Natural Language Processing
- cl-nlp - Natural language processing toolset. Apache2.0.
- babel2 - A Fluid Construction Grammar implementation, computational framework, and unification-based grammar formalism Apache2.0.
Network and Internet
See Cliki for more.
- 👍Clack - A web application environment inspired by Rack and WSGI. LLGPL. Provides a unified interface to a webserver of choice (default is Hunchentoot).
- :star: Hunchentoot - A web server. 2-clause BSD
- aserve - AllegroServe; a web server. LLGPL.
- wookie - Asynchronous HTTP server. Expat.
- woo - A fast non-blocking HTTP server on top of libev. MIT.
- clack-errors - Error page middleware for Clack. LLGPL.
- clath - a single sign-on
middleware for Clack. It allows basic login with OAuth1.0a, OAuth2
and OpenID. At the time of writing, it supports authentication from
Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, StackExchange, Reddit and Github. Apache2.0.
- clack-pretend - a testing
and debugging tool for clack. Apache2.0.
- hermetic - Security for Clack-based web applications. Expat.
- live-reload - Live reload prototype for clack. LLGPL.
- Caveman - A powerful web framework. LLGPL.
Example projects: Quickdocs
- hh-web - Framework for building modern web apps. Expat.
- ningle - A super-micro web framework. LLGPL. ninglex, an extended and noob-friendly ningle (mostly easier handling of query parameters). MIT.
- radiance - An extensible framework library and multi-application CMS. Artistic License 2.0.
- Lucerne - A minimal web framework built on Clack, inspired by Flask. MIT.
- Snooze - A RESTful web framework, built on Clack, where routes are just functions and HTTP conditions are just Lisp conditions. LLGPL.
- cl-rest-server - a library for writing REST web APIs. Features validation with schemas, annotations for logging, caching, permissions or authentication, documentation via Swagger, etc. MIT.
There are more projects, more or less discontinued but interesting. See the other ressources.
- Rock - an asset manager for
Common Lisp. It's basically a combination of Bower and
See also XML below.
HTML generators and templates
- 👍 spinneret - Common Lisp HTML5 generator. Expat.
- flute - An easily composable HTML5 generation library with the
most simplistic syntax. MIT.
- :star: cl-who - The venerable HTML generator. FreeBSD.
- :star: Djula - A port of Django's template engine to Common Lisp. Expat.
- cl-markup - Modern markup generation library. LLGPL.
- eco - Fast, flexible, designer-friendly template engine. Expat.
- cl-closure-template - Implementation of Google's Closure templates. LLGPL.
- quri - Another URI library for
Common Lisp. Supports userinfo, IPv6 hostname, encoding/decoding
- purl - Provides a parser and defines a type for URLs as specified in RFC1738. GNU GPL3.
- cl-slug - a small library to make slugs, mainly for URIs, transform in CamelCase, remove accentuation and punctuation, for english and beyound. LLGPL.
- parse-js - A package for parsing ECMAScript 3. zlib.
- JSCL - A CL-to-JS compiler designed to be self-hosting from day one. Lacks CLOS, format and loop.
- Wuwei - A toolkit to build Ajax-based web pages. MIT.
- Panic, a Parenscript library for React. Not in Quicklisp. MIT. Its TodoMVC example.
See more on cliki.
Static site generators
- heroku-buildpack-common-lisp - A Heroku buildpack that uses Roswell to compile Common Lisp applications. LGPL3.
- cube - Kubernetes client library for Common LISP generated from the Swagger specification. No license specified.
See also multiposter to
post to multiple services simultaneously.
Numerical and Scientific
- magicl - Matrix Algebra proGrams In Common Lisp based on BLAS/LAPACK and Expokit, by Rigetti Computing. BSD_3Clause.
- cl-spark - Generates sparkline strings for lists of numbers. Expat.
- GSLL - GNU Scientific Library for Lisp; allows the use of the GSL from Common Lisp. GNU LGPL2.1.
- common-lisp-stat - Common Lisp statistics library. FreeBSD.
- maxima - Computer algebra system. Not available on Quicklisp. GNU GPL3.
- lisp-matrix - A matrix package. FreeBSD.
- 3-matrices - A library implementing
common matrix calculations, with an emphasis on 2x2,3x3, and 4x4
matrices as commonly used in graphics. It provides some numerical
functions as well, but those are not the focus. The library is
heavily optimised, so it is not made of pretty
code. Artistic License 2.0.
Parallelism and Concurrency
- psychiq - redis-based background job processing for Common Lisp applications. Inspired by Ruby's Sidekiq and compatible with its web UI. LLGPL.
- clerk - a cron-like scheduler with sane DSL. MIT.
- 👍 Roswell -
a lisp installer and scripting environment (helper, launcher,
installer) and more. MIT.
- Shelly - execute Common Lisp
functions like a shell command, without the need to write a command
line arguments parser. And it also can be used as a Make-like
- cl-readline - a set of
functions to edit lines as they are typed in, to maintain a list of
previously-entered command lines, to recall and reedit them and
perform csh-like history expansion. Emacs and vi editing
- 👍 Unix-opts - a command line
options parser with a concise declaration of options. MIT.
- CLON - Command Line Options
- cl-ansi-term - print
colorized text, horizontal lines, progress bars, (un)ordered lists
and tables on ANSI-compliant terminals. GPL3.
- cl-charms - an
libcurses in Common Lisp. It provides both a raw,
low-level interface to libcurses via CFFI, and a more higher-level
lispier interface. MIT.
- Deploy - a system to help you
easily and quickly deploy standalone common lisp applications as
binaries. Specifically it is geared towards applications with
foreign library dependencies that run some kind of
GUI. Artistic License 2.0.
- shcl - a POSIX-like shell in Common Lisp. Apache2.0.
- cl-progress-bar - progress bars, just like in Quicklisp ! MIT.
Text Editor Resources
This contains plugins and other goodies for various text editors.
- Parinfer - Parinfer is a way to edit lisp code that helps to keep both the indentation and the parenthesis balanced. It is easy to start with and yet it offers advanced features à la Paredit. It is available on many editors (Emacs, Vim, Neovim, Atom, Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, LightTable, CodeMirror,…).
- :star: Slime - Superior Lisp Interaction Mode for Emacs; a full-blown environment for Common Lisp inside of Emacs. Public domain.
- 👍 Sly - SLY is a fork of SLIME and contains multiple improvements upon it.
- 👍 Portacle - A portable and multiplatform Common Lisp environment: SBCL, Quicklisp, Emacs, Slime, Git.
- cl-devel2 - a Docker container for Common Lisp development environment. Ships SBCL, CCL, Roswell and Emacs25 with Slime.
- SLIMV - Superior Lisp Interaction Mode for Vim; a full-blown environment for Common Lisp inside of Vim. No license specified.
- Vlime - VLIME: Vim plus Lisp Is Mostly Evil. A Common Lisp dev environment for Vim (and Neovim). MIT.
- Lem - a ready to use, Emacs-like, Slime-based
editor tailored for Common Lisp development. Ncurses and Electron interfaces. MIT.
- ATOM-SLIME allows you to
interactively develop Common Lisp code, helping turn Atom into a
full-featured Lisp IDE. MIT.
- Sublime Text has Common Lisp support
with its "SublimeREPL" package. [Proprietary].
- cl-repl - an ipython-like REPL. With completion, shell commands, magic commands, debugger, etc. MIT. With colorthemes.
- montezuma - Full-text indexing and search for Common Lisp. Expat.
- mk-string-metrics -
Calculate various string metrics efficiently in Common Lisp
(Damerau-Levenshtein, Hamming, Jaro, Jaro-Winkler, Levenshtein,
- cl-yacc - a LALR(1) parser generator. MIT.
- wiki-lang-detect -
Text language identification using Wikipedia data. No license specified.
These are applications or bits of code that make development in Common Lisp easier without being Common Lisp libraries themselves.
- clache - General caching facility. No license specified.
Date and time
- localtime - A development library for manipulating date and time information in a semi-standard manner. 3-clause BSD.
- cl-date-time-parser - Parse date-time-string, liberally. Hides the difference between date-time formats, and enables to manage date and time as the one date-time format. MIT.
- chronicity - A natural language date and time parse, to parse strings like "3 days from now". BSD_3Clause.
- local-time-duration -
Duration processing library built on top of local-time. MIT.
- sphinxcontrib-cldomain -
Extending Sphinx to cover Common Lisp. To build documentation with
the same ease as sphinx would a Python project. GPL3
- Codex - A beautiful
documentation system for Common Lisp. MIT.
- Staple - a tool to generate
documentation pages using an HTML template. Uses the existing
README, adds docstrings, crossreferences and links to the
Files and directories
- :star: uiop and its
(replaces cl-fad). uiop is part of ASDF3
and as thus is shipped in many implementations. MIT.
- osicat - A lightweight operating system interface on POSIX-like systems (directory iteration and deletion, environment variables, file permissions, etc) Expat.
- pathname-utils - A
collection of utilities to help with pathname
operations. Artistic License 2.0.
- archive - a library for reading and creating archive (tar, cpio) files. BSD_3Clause. A pure Common Lisp replacement for the 'tar' program.
- cl-i18n - an i18n library. Load translations from GNU gettext text or binary files or from its native format. Localisation helpers of plural forms. LLGPL.
- cl-locale - A simple i18n library. LLGPL.
- enchant - bindings for the Enchant spell-checker library. Public domain.
- oxenfurt - A client library for the Oxford dictionary API. ArtisticLicense2.0.
- :star: log4cl - Logging framework modelled after Log4J. Apache2.0. Advanced integration with Slime.
To third parties:
- 3bmd - a markdown -> html converter. MIT.
- vgplot - an interface to the
gnuplot plotting utility with the intention to resemble some of
the plot commands of octave or matlab. GPL3.
- eazy-gnuplot - a
lispy, structure-less Gnuplot library. With its
This contains anything which doesn't fit into another category.
Your contributions are always welcome! Please submit a pull request or create
an issue to add a new framework, library or software to the list.
The rules we (try to) respect are the followings:
- by default, add a library to the end of its section.
- absolute de-facto libraries, like BordeauxThreads or Quicklisp,
should be denoted with a :star: (
:star: in markdown).
- two libraries very similar in scope should be side by side, or in a
section of their own.
- do some curation based on our experience and the state of the
library's documentation. We do not aim at listing every existing
CL library (see Quickdocs or Cliki for that) nor to list every
"popular" library (see Quicklisp stats).
- as such, the libraries we like best are marked with a 👍 (
unicode character). See also the signs' explanation in the