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Programming Clojure

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Clojure is a programming language that runs on the Java Virtual

    Clojure is a programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine. The language is called a LISP dialect - it is not a full implementation of the LISP language specification (Armed Bear Common Lisp is a full LISP implementation on the Java Virtual Machine). The creator of Clojure intentionally broke compatibility with standard LISP in an attempt to make the language simpler to learn and simpler and more practical to use in real world applications. I believe he succeeded, though I am not an expert in LISP so don't weigh my support too heavily.

    This book is not for someone completely new to writing software, and neither is it a complete reference to the Clojure language. But for someone already experienced writing software in other mainstream programming languages, it's a good introduction to Clojure.
    If you're coming to Clojure without Java experience, I do not think it is a problem. You can skip the chapter on Java interoperability and work entirely in Clojure. The project management tool Lein for Clojure takes care of working with the Java Virtual Machine for you behind the scenes, you don't need to know Java.
    On the other hand, as someone that doesn't know LISP very well, I imagine knowing LISP would make the book far easier to understand. Because Clojure's syntax is so simple - no special rules for loops, no operator precedence rules, etc... you get the basics in a hurry and then jump feet first into using advanced features. It'll take half an hour to read a chapter and than another two days playing with the example code from that chapter to really understand the concepts. I recommend the book, I learned a lot and I don't regret buying it, but I would hope there would be something a little better out there.

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