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Seesaw turns the Horror of Swing into a friendly, well-documented, Clojure library

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Note that current development is on the develop branch, not master

There's now a Google Group for discussion and questions.

Here's a brief tutorial that covers some Seesaw basics. It assumes no knowledge of Swing or Java.

Here's the slides from a Clojure/West 2012 talk on the Seesaw. Best viewed in Chrome or Safari.

Seesaw: Clojure + UI

See the Seesaw Wiki and the Seesaw API Docs for more detailed docs. Note that the docs in the code (use the doc function!) are always the most up-to-date and trustworthy.

Seesaw is a library/DSL for constructing user interfaces in Clojure. It happens to be built on Swing, but please don't hold that against it.


Seesaw is compatible with both Clojure 1.2 and 1.3.

  • Swing knowledge is not required for many apps!
  • Construct widgets with simple functions, e.g. (listbox :model (range 100))
  • Support for all of Swing's built-in widgets as well as SwingX.
  • Support for all of Swing's layout managers as well as MigLayout, and JGoodies Forms
  • Convenient shortcuts for most properties. For example, :background :blue or :background "#00f", or :size [640 :by 480].
  • CSS-style selectors with same syntax as Enlive.
  • Unified, extensible event API
  • Unified, extensible selection API
  • Widget binding, i.e. map changes from one widget into one or more others in a more functional style. Also integrates with Clojure's reference types.
  • Graphics
  • i18n
  • An extensive test suite

There are numerous Seesaw examples in test/seesaw/test/examples.


Here's how you use Seesaw with Leiningen

Install lein as described and then:

$ lein new hello-seesaw
$ cd hello-seesaw

Add Seesaw to project.clj

(defproject hello-seesaw "1.0.0-SNAPSHOT"
  :description "FIXME: write"
  :dependencies [[org.clojure/clojure "1.3.0"]
                [seesaw "x.y.z"]])

Replace the Seesaw version with whatever the latest version tag is. See below!

Now edit the generated src/hello_seesaw/core.clj file:

(ns hello-seesaw.core
  (:use seesaw.core))

(defn -main [& args]
    (-> (frame :title "Hello",
           :content "Hello, Seesaw",
           :on-close :exit)

Now run it:

$ lein run -m hello-seesaw.core

NOTE: Here's how you can run against the bleeding edge of Seesaw:

  • Clone Seesaw from github. Fork if you like. Switch to the "develop" branch.
  • In your Seesaw checkout, run lein install to build it. Note that Seesaw uses Leiningen 2 as of 3 NOV 2012!
  • In your project's project.clj file, change the Seesaw version to X.Y.Z-SNAPSHOT to match whatever's in Seesaw's project.clj.
  • Run lein deps ... actually you can just start coding. lein deps is almost never necessary.
  • Move along


  • Meikel Brandmeyer (kotarak)
  • David Brunell (Quantalume)
  • Stuart Campbell (harto)
  • Michael Frericks
  • Jonathan Fischer Friberg (odyssomay)
  • Anthony Grimes (Raynes)
  • Thomas Karolski (MHOOO)
  • Chun-wei Kuo (Domon)
  • Vladimir Matveev (dpx-infinity)
  • Jeff Rose (rosejn)
  • Simon Lundmark (simlun)
  • Jake McCrary (jakemcc)


Copyright (C) 2012 Dave Ray

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.

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