I’ve been advising a startup on the data transformation space. As part of this, we re-wrote the core engine in Clojure. The new version is, at the worst case, 16 times as fast in the same hardware, and in some cases over 200 times faster. And it does it with a fraction of the lines of code.
We did this in under 3 months of part-time work. We couldn’t focus our entire attention on it, as we had other concerns as well - I was involved with general team and management tasks, and the second developer was helping on other internal projects as well. To further raise the bar: we had to keep it functionality-compatible with the current version, so I had to get acquainted with the existing feature set, and it was the other developer’s first Clojure project.
Clojure made our lives so much easier. But this is not a post about why Clojure is cool.
Perhaps the trickiest thing when developing an open source library is figuring out the balance between changes you feel are necessary, and respecting early adopters.
Take the case of khroma, the ClojureScript library for providing idiomatic access to the Chrome extensions API. It’s very much a work in progress, and I’m developing it to use on an extension of my own. The way I go about it is exposing functions and event handlers mostly as I need them, to avoid getting sidetracked into surfacing functionality for which I don’t have a practical use case right away.
However, when developing something organically, the question then becomes: where do you draw the line between unifying the way the APIs behave after adding functionality, and not breaking things for those very early users?
Up until now whenever someone asked about our open source projects I referred them directly to my Github page. That’s the repository, sure, but might be a bit noisy as it contains a mix of the projects I’ve created and maintain, with repositories I’ve forked (some of which I contribute to, but not all), with older projects.
I decided it was time to clear things up a bit, so I’ve done a brief write up on those that I’m actively maintaining. It has a better introduction to each, including both their application and licensing details.