Clojurebridge London

On Saturday April 18, Kriszta, Jarkyn, and Denise took part in London’s first-ever Clojurebridge workshop, hosted at uSwitch’s sunny offices in Southwark. We learned TONS of Clojure – our brains were mush by the end of the day! – and were able to experience how a workshop can successfully cater for many different experience levels. The students participating in the workshop came from all different backgrounds. Some were full-time developers looking to pick up some functional programming as a hobby; others were newcomers to coding altogether.

As newcomers to functional programming, we quickly realized that we would need to think about problem-solving in a completely different way if we were to become good Clojure developers. Unlike object-oriented languages such as Ruby or Javascript (most of the time..), functions are first-class citizens in Clojure – quite literally, because the function precedes each list. Because objects don’t exist in the same way as Ruby objects, they can’t hold state. As a result, data passed into a Clojure function is processed in a consistent, predictable way. Clojure can also developed with fast feedback cycles because it is richly supported by instant REPLs in several editors. An interesting side effect of this is that, while Test Driven Development (TDD) has many evangelists in Ruby and Java communities, TDD did not seem to have the same following in the Clojure community.

We worked our way through the Clojurebridge tutorials relatively quickly, then spent lots of time experimenting with our new skills. We wired together a basic web API and practiced making requests to some public APIs, which is where Clojure really steps up to bat. I was sold on Clojure when I saw how elegantly and efficiently you can traverse an HTTP response.

But, a blog post on Clojurebridge would be incomplete without a shoutout to the amount of hospitality we received! The organisers, sponsors, and hosts made sure there was no chance of us going hungry at any point. A constant stream of bagels, fruit, cheese, sandwiches, coffee, tea, and beer kept us caffeinated and energized. Codebar has to step up our game now… :)

For anyone interested in learning Clojure, there are a wealth of resources online. Here are a small handful of them:

For information on Clojurebridge London and their upcoming events, check out their official website. There is also a vibrant community of London Clojurians who hold weekly meetups in various formats.