Clojure's first year

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Rich Hickey

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Oct 16, 2008, 12:36:21 PM10/16/08
to Clojure
A year ago today I 'released' Clojure, by sending a message to my jFli
and Foil mailing lists. It got blogged, picked up by Planet Lisp and
redditted in the course of a day or so, and has been a wild ride ever
since. I couldn't have possibly imagined the year Clojure (and I) have
had.

Community

Releasing a language means hoping others will use it, and I truly
appreciate the risks taken by those very first users, trying Clojure
of their own interest and initiative with no recommendations or
testimonials. I've tried to repay that interest with support and
explanations, bug fixes and enhancements. Most satisfying has been
seeing a community grow, and gain a collective experience it can
share. We're now at 650 members on the Google Group, and have had over
4500 message over the year, 500 messages in the first half of October
alone! Even better, only 15% of those messages were mine (down from
50% in the early days). There are newcomers kicking the tires, people
who've spent enough time to know their way around, and those who,
through their extended experience, really 'get' the model behind
Clojure, and have developed idiomatic sensibilities. In addition, it's
a diverse community, including some Java experts, and some Lisp
experts, with experience in a wide variety of domains, all of which is
being shared too.

The discourse and attitude has been consistently positive and
supportive, and Clojure has benefitted tremendously from the feedback
and suggestions of the user community.

Contributors

Releasing something as open source means hoping that, eventually,
giving something away will yield returns of contributions that will
allow your project to grow in ways you couldn't achieve alone. I'm
happy to see that starting now, as people get familiar enough with how
Clojure works to make tangible contributions.

A substantial source of contributions that don't end up in Clojure
itself are on the tools side. People have built editor support for
emacs and vim, the enclojure IDE for Netbeans, swank/slime etc. Other
contributions take the form of additions to the wiki, tutorial blogs,
and answering questions on the group and IRC.

Awareness

Clojure has gotten a lot of attention - I've been invited to give
talks at the Dynamic Languages Symposium at ECOOP, the European Lisp
Workshop, IBM Research, the JVM Languages Summit, Boston Lisp, and
next week at Lisp 50 at OOPSLA. There has been a lot of blogging,
which continues to grow. Clojure has made its presence felt in both
the Lisp and JVM communities it bridges, which have very little
overlap otherwise. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Language

I've done almost 600 checkins in the past year. Many were small bug
fixes and enhancements, others were significant features like first-
class namespaces, in-source docs, gen-class and proxy, primitives
support, ad hoc hierarchies, destructuring, list comprehensions, var
metadata, regex support, zippers, first-class sets, agents, struct
maps, java.util integration, parallel support, etc. All of this
happened in a context of considerable stability and robustness, which
is a testament to the Lisp model of using a small core, with most of
the language provided by independent functions and macros.

Moving Forward

The net result is that the prospects for Clojure going forward are
very good. The core model of Clojure has held up well and continues to
appeal - accessible, robust, thread-safe, efficient dynamic functional
programming, on a world-class infrastructure, with a huge set of
libraries. Oh yeah, and it's great fun!

People coming to Clojure now find a vibrant community, plenty of
support, a variety of tools and more on the way, a wiki and blogs full
of examples, a book on the way, many online screencasts and talks, a
huge message archive etc. The language itself continues to grow in
capabilities while remaining stable, and the growing pool of
contributors promises more hands in pursuing bug fixes and new
features. There's still more to do, but more people to do it as well.

I designed and built Clojure so that I could pursue the next 20 years
of my career in a language I wouldn't mind thinking in. In order to be
commercially accepted, a language needs to be technically viable and
have wide enough awareness and use. I think Clojure has great
prospects in both of those areas, as it continues to improve and usage
grows.

Thanks to all for being part of Clojure!

On to year two,

Rich

Shawn Hoover

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Oct 16, 2008, 12:43:43 PM10/16/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 9:36 AM, Rich Hickey <richh...@gmail.com> wrote:

A year ago today I 'released' Clojure, by sending a message to my jFli
and Foil mailing lists. It got blogged, picked up by Planet Lisp and
redditted in the course of a day or so, and has been a wild ride ever
since. I couldn't have possibly imagined the year Clojure (and I) have
had.

Released in the same month of the year as Lisp 50 years ago. Nice work.

Shawn

Mark H.

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Oct 16, 2008, 8:13:01 PM10/16/08
to Clojure
Congrats Rich and HBD Clojure!

I'm getting back into Clojure for scripting and am loving it. The
sequence functions work great on strings and are fabulous for simple
text manipulation without invoking the heavy hammer of the regex
engine. It's a nice puzzle to make my brain work that way again ;-)

mfh

Parth Malwankar

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Oct 16, 2008, 10:38:34 PM10/16/08
to Clojure
Congrats to Rich and the Clojure community. I know I keep
trying to find reasons to use Clojure every day rather than
something else. It a very enjoyable experience :)

Parth

Paul Drummond

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Oct 17, 2008, 3:09:19 AM10/17/08
to Clojure
Congratulations Rich!

I remember when Clojure was first announced (it doesn't feel like a
year ago!) it was like a breath of fresh air! It was during a time
when I was trying learn Lisp as a newbie and finding it hard to focus
on learning the language because I couldn't settle for a particular
dialect. Then - at just the right time - I start hearing about a "new
lisp on the JVM". As a Java programmer by trade, the idea of learning
Lisp on the JVM sounded like dream land! I could actually learn Lisp
from within a familiar environment and focus on the language itself
(rather than OS/dialect/compiler/library issues) and even interoperate
with all my existing Java code!

Thank you Rich for making this possible! Hopefully, soon I will be
confident enough repay your efforts by actually contributing some code
but I'm not there yet - maybe this time next year! :)

Cheers,
Paul.

AlamedaMike

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Oct 17, 2008, 5:05:40 AM10/17/08
to Clojure
Thanks for a great language, Rich. Here's to broad acceptance!

Mike

On Oct 17, 12:09 am, Paul Drummond

Toralf Wittner

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Oct 17, 2008, 5:34:06 AM10/17/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
Thank you Rich for all the work you have put into Clojure. I am using
this language ever since I heard of it in December last year. And it
really is a joy to use. I have no doubts that Clojure's second year
will be as good as the first one if not better.

Cheers,
Toralf

Paul Stadig

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Oct 17, 2008, 7:09:24 AM10/17/08
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Congratulations, Rich! I have very bright hopes for Clojure's future. It came at the right time. I know there were/are lots of other people thinking about how Lisp could be reinvented. I had thought a lot about what I would want, and lo and behold nearly all of it is in Clojure.

Also when you look at Arc, you see how much more sensible it was to build on and embrace the JVM ecosystem. We get the best of both worlds: a cool new language to play with, and no "library problem."

One of the things that I have always thought was crucial to creating a new Lisp (or any language really) is a Benevolent Dictator. I like the fact that you have a strong vision, and although you are very open to suggestions, you are also not afraid to say "no."

And the community is very courteous and helpful. Amazing! Now if only I could find a job where I could work with Clojure full-time... I guess I'll just have to sneak it in like others have done.


Paul

JumpingJupiter

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Oct 17, 2008, 7:12:56 AM10/17/08
to Clojure
> through their extended experience, really 'get' the model behind
> Clojure, and have developed idiomatic sensibilities.

Would anyone else like to see something along the lines of an idioms/
style guide?
The closest I've seen to this is the wiki examples.

Michael Beauregard

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Oct 17, 2008, 9:00:10 AM10/17/08
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I can't tell you how underwhelmed I was when Arc was announced.
Conversely, for each moment I spend with Clojure I am inspired by its
genius. I'm convinced that Clojure is the Arc that everyone was hoping
for.

Thanks for you hard work and dedication, Rich.

Michael

Mark H.

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Oct 17, 2008, 11:39:04 AM10/17/08
to Clojure
On Oct 17, 4:09 am, "Paul Stadig" <p...@stadig.name> wrote:
> One of the things that I have always thought was crucial to creating a new
> Lisp (or any language really) is a Benevolent Dictator. I like the fact that
> you have a strong vision, and although you are very open to suggestions, you
> are also not afraid to say "no."

Especially when said Dictator's next words after "no" are "look at ...
paper to see why" ;-)

Practical + Academic -> Win :-D

mfh

Stuart Sierra

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Oct 17, 2008, 8:45:00 PM10/17/08
to Clojure
I saw one of the first public presentations of Clojure, at LispNYC. I
remember thinking at the time, "Yes, this is a Lisp that makes
sense." I was pretty surprised when my blog post hit Reddit, and
frankly even more surprised that the language attracted adherents so
quickly. I mean, it's *Lisp*, for crying out loud. I'm relying on
Clojure as my "secret weapon," so here's hoping it continues to grow!
Thanks for all your hard work, Rich, and for the efforts of all the
people who have come together to support the language.
-Stuart Sierra

Krukow

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Oct 18, 2008, 9:34:53 AM10/18/08
to Clojure
I saw clojure mentioned on LtU and put it in my "to read soon"
bookmarks (which I never get around). Then at JAOO 2008, I heard Guy
Steele and I think also Kirk Pepperdine mention the language (just as
a side remark), and I decided it was time to look again ;-)

After seeing Rich's presentation videos I was more excited than I'd
ever been about a language. Now, I just want to learn more. Excellent
work, Rich, truly innovative!

/karl
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