AutoLISP is a dialect of the programming language Lisp built specifically for use with AutoCAD. It is so popular that there are thousands of utilities and applications that have been developed. Even the Electrical toolset in AutoCAD is developed entirely using the AutoLISP language.
However, the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for editing and debugging LISP lacks more of the modern look and functionality. As a customer-focused team, we wanted to bring the best-in-class experience into AutoLISP development.
Over the last two years, we have been working on creating an updated editor and debugger based on Visual Studio Code, which is often ranked as one of the most popular developer environment tools for programmers. Furthermore, we open sourced the code of this extension to Github after its release.
“With the open-source community, your contribution goes into the source code and everyone can benefit,” says Lan Dong, software development manager, AutoCAD team. “Now, customers can create what they want and when they want it in a modern IDE—and share it with everyone. Code and peer reviewers can also come together and extend AutoCAD developers’ abilities. It’s a win-win.”
Since the release of the Visual Studio Code Extension for AutoCAD AutoLISP, there have been more than 15,000 downloads and two releases with new features, updates, and bug fixes. In the most recent version, four new features from external contributors were added to the extension: open online help, insert region, go to definition, and add file to project. All updates and features are manually tested and code quality checked by the AutoCAD team prior to release.
The team is actively engaged and monitoring this open-source community effort for the AutoCAD open source project for AutoLISP. Download the extension and we look forward to seeing your contributions!