There have been several questions floating lately to the effect of “How do I get started fast?” or “What’s the bare minimum I need to know to get hired?”.
In case you’re wondering how to do that… you’re not going to like this answer.
I started my recent Clojure talk by enumerating the “scary bits” for new users. The two I went into were the fundamentally different semantics, and that the doc strings for the core functions were succinct and exact, but not expansive in use cases.
There was one that I forgot to bring up, though: compiler error messages when there’s a problem with a macro call.
There’s been a lot of chatter on the topic this past week, since Colin Fleming gave a talk at Clojure/Conj on the subject focusing on how to improve them with grammars. The conversation has kept a positive focus on how to fix it, as opposed to piling negativity on the situation (go Clojure community!) but that does not mean we can expect to see a change right away.
I’d like to address how this might affect you if you’re just getting into the language, and what you can do about it.
I love Clojure.
Once you have tried it and enjoyed its advantages, you just don’t want to go back. But those same qualities that make you love it can make it easy to forget that, for someone who’s first encountering it, Clojure can be a threatening, scary area far outside their comfort zone.
A few weeks ago I gave a talk at the Bucharest Functional Programming Meet Up. The title was Clojure All The Way Down, since my initial plan was to focus on how to program web applications completely in Clojure (both the browser client and back end), and what it brings to the table.
Two things happened as I prepared the talk.