November 29, 2019

Clojure Conj 2019

I just returned from last weeks Clojure/conj in Durham, NC. All the talks seem to be online now. Talks I really liked included Follow the Data, Sherlock Holmes, and Love Letter To Clojure. No big surprises or releases there but what was an overarching impression is that Clojure now really has become a very stable language and ecosystem. Not huge by any means but a fair amount of companies participated and among the conference attendees many more worked professionally with Clojure (and that does not even count in Clojure’s presence in Europe where it seems to find increasing adoption, e.g. at companies like Pitch).

From the companies present at the conj, most notable is properly Nubank which had a number of developers and multiple talks there. They are in the process of really scaling up their business with hundreds of developers in multiple locations, including Berlin.

Clojure’s continued relevance doesn’t seem to simply derive from a single “killer feature”, it’s a mix of properties that make the language useful in todays world. On the one hand it’s Clojure’s approach of being hosted on the JVM and web browsers that enable adoption fairly easily, allow it to run almost anywhere and that opens up a large number of available libraries. Then there are features that are not completely unique to Clojure but can’t really be found in other mainstream languages:

  • It’s dynamic workflow and the “repl-driven” development style that pretty much every Clojure development tool supports (and which is my personal favorite),
  • a small language core library that makes working with and transforming data easy by providing a sensible set of core data structure and operations and that focuses on state management and immutability,
  • various useful additions such as clojure.spec that address real world concerns

So all in all Clojure seems to be pretty healthy and I continue to enjoy working with it!

© Robert Krahn 2021