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Embracing Clojure: a journey into Clojure adoption


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What happens when a small team of very experienced developers with no real functional programming experience decides to use Clojure to run a core system architecture component?
This is the story of a 2 years journey of my team with Clojure, sharing learnings, epiphanies, success as well as some of the challenges we encountered.

Published in: Software
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Embracing Clojure: a journey into Clojure adoption

  1. 1. Embracing Clojure A journey into Clojure adoption LambdaCon 2015-3-28, Bologna, Italy Luca Grulla
  2. 2. Back in 2012 we had… • A new product idea • Lean team: 2 developers • both with 10+ years of experience • both polyglot • no Functional Programming experience
  3. 3. Product Architecture Website AggregatorJson { name: "Luca" claims: [] address: "42 Magic Road" abi: "123456"} [{"premium": "150", "brand": “foo"} {"premium":"180", "brand":"blah"}] xml xml xml xml xml insurer#1 insurer#4 insurer#2 insurer#3 insurer#5
  4. 4. Why Clojure? • The problem we had to solve was data transformation: FP was a pretty good match • Mature stack(JVM, repos, Java libraries) • Language with huge growth potentials • Strong Clojure support within the organisation
  5. 5. ~$ lein new aggregator
  6. 6. Challenge #1: Emacs Steep learning curve
  7. 7. Challenge #2: read LISP (def my-vector [{:val 8} {:val 33} {:val 42} {:val 13}]) (* (reduce + (map :val (filter(fn[y] (< (:val y) 20)) my-vector))) 2) ;;42
  8. 8. Epiphany #1: threading macro for local pipelines (->> my-vector (filter (fn[y] (< (:val y) 20))) (map :val) (reduce +) (* 2)) ;;42 (* (reduce + (map :val (filter(fn[y] (< (:val y) 20)) my-vector))) 2) ;;42 (->> x & forms)
  9. 9. Challenge #3: idiomatic Clojure (def people [{:name "Luca" :nationality “Italian"} {:name "Tim" :nationality “Canadian"} {:name "Davie" :nationality “British"} {:name "David" :nationality “Belgian"} {:name "Mike" :nationality "British"}]) (filter not-italian? people) (defn not-italian?[p] (not= "Italian" (:nationality p))) (filter (fn[p] (not= "Italian" (:nationality p))) people) (filter (fn[p] (not= "British" (:nationality p))) people)
  10. 10. Epiphany #2: function composition (defn not?[nationality p] (not= nationality (:nationality p))) (filter (partial not? "Italian") people) (partial f arg1)
  11. 11. Epiphany #3: functions are first class citizens Everything is geared toward functions creation and composition
  12. 12. Epiphany #4: parallelism made easy (def request-func [partner-1-func partner-2-func partner-3-func]) (pmap #(apply % []) request-func) ;;hardware bound(num of processors +2) (map #(future (apply % [])) request-func) ;;collection of futures clojure.core.async
  13. 13. tl;dr • If you are doing some sort of data transformation you should look at Clojure • Clojure code is terse and expressive • Mature ecosystem: JVM, repos, libraries • Personal growth: people are challenged by the new paradigm, solid CS concepts took back into the game • Business impact: functional composition + parallelism will give you a competitive advantage
  14. 14. @lucagrulla Questions? we’re hiring!!