1. Emacs Lisp is a real Lisp. Full stop.
2. That said, Emacs Lisp is based on MacLisp (no
relationship to Macintosh), which has dynamic scoping,
not lexical scoping, and which is not a member of the
Common Lisp family.
3. And *that* said, Emacs Lisp has long had a "cl"
package that adds many Common Lisp niceties, and,
since 24, has had optional lexical scoping, bringing a
more Common-Lisp-like experience to all aspects of
4. And all of *that* said, this particular package I
regard as a convenience, not a way to write a website.
There are many tools a devoted Emacser uses (org mode
and Planner mode, to name the two big ones) that want
to vend web pages, and this would be a great tool for
them, but I'd hardly recommend using elisp for a
It is a real lisp. I think the problem you're experiencing is that EmacsLisp has a long history. So some things that have been said were said a loooong time ago and are no longer relevant.
Take a look at the other articles I have on my blog... it's clear EmacsLisp is a modern, usable, language.
A previous Elnode announcement was what made me actually want to look into Elisp more seriously, but I went straight into the Emacs Elisp manual, and found it rather low-level when it came to list construction. So I asked around:
and gave up because I wasn't interested in Emacs-specific programs.
But I won't argue for or against that. Will give it another go starting from your site.
Don't listen to the haters. EmacsLisp is a real Lisp. You can use it to do solve real problems. It gets better all the time as people add stuff that has worked for years to the package archives (see elsewhere in this elnode thread where someone adds a redis client).
What I would say is you need to reach out more, come to #emacs and ask lisp questions. Play with Emacs (it's SO easy) and check out all the videos that people have been doing recently (http://emacsrocks.com/ and the one from me today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR7DPvEi7Jg).
Elnode is a good way to get into Lisp because it's easy and it's in Emacs which is just a great Lisp environment.
Regardless, it seems like the author is able to build some real things. I know, for example, that you can run a simple file-directory server using elnode.
Something that makes people fight over whether Scheme is a real lisp. Something that makes people fight over whether Dylan is a real lisp.
In short, there really isn't one. Unless you say that all real lisps adhere to the Common Lisp standard, which isn't, actually, a common position to find anyone taking in real life.