Macro let? with :when, :is, :is-not, :else and :delay clauses in the bindings.
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The let? macro has the same behavior as let, except where a binding is followed by one or more of the keyword clauses described below, in any order.


I often find myself writing a series of let bindings, where some or all of the bindings have assertions associated with them that would stop further binding if the assertions failed. Conceptually, that pattern really feels like it should be a single let form, but in practice it has to be implemented with a bunch of nested lets, when-lets, if-lets, etc. So let? allows me to write code for that pattern as the single let that it wants to be.

A contrived example:

(when-let [a foo]
  (let [b bar]
    (when (even? b)
      (let [c baz]
        (when (> b c)
          (let [d qux]
            (f a b c d)))))))


(let? [a foo :else nil
       b bar :is even?
       c baz :when (> b c)
       d qux]
  (f a b c d))

Keyword clauses

:when when

The rest of the bindings and the body are not evaluated if when evaluates to falsey, in which case let? returns the value of else if :else else is present, otherwise nil.

E.g., these expressions with and without let? are equivalent:

(let? [d 5 :when (> d 0) :else "error"
       n 3]
  (/ n d))

(let [d 5]
  (if (> d 0)
    (let [n 3]
      (/ n d))

:is pred and :is-not pred

The rest of the bindings and the body are not evaluated if pred applied to the value of the binding expression is falsey (for :is) or truthy (for :is-not). Works even with destructuring bindings. :when, :is, and :is-not can all be present on the same binding.

E.g., these three expressions are equivalent:

(let? [a "foo" :is not-empty :else "error"
       b "bar"]
  (str a b))

(let? [a "foo" :is-not empty? :else "error"
       b "bar"]
  (str a b))

(let [a "foo"]
  (if (not-empty a)
    (let [b "bar"]
      (str a b))

:else else

The value of else is the value of the let? if the associated :when or :is evaluates to falsey, or :is-not evaluates to truthy.

For an :else without a :when, :is, or :is-not, if the value of the binding expression is falsey, else is the value of the let?.

E.g., these expressions are equivalent:

(let? [a (foo) :else nil
       b (bar) :else "error"]
  [a b])

(when-let [a (foo)]
  (if-let [b (bar)]
    [a b]

With :when, :is, or :is-not clauses, the else is evaluated inside the context of the binding, otherwise outside, e.g.

(let [a 4]
  (let? [a 3 :is even? :else (str a " is not even")]
=> "3 is not even"

(let [a 4]
  (let? [a nil :else a]
=> 4

:delay truthy

A :delay clause following a binding of a symbol (not a destructuring form) delays evaluation of the binding value until it is actually used, in case there is a possibility it won't be used at all. :delay is ignored if the binding has any other keyword clauses.

Alternatively, :delay may be specified as metadata preceding the symbol, e.g.

(let? [^:delay x (foo)]

is equivalent to:

(let? [x (foo) :delay true]

Alternatives to :else nil

The keyword clause :else nil with no other keyword clauses is equivalent to when-let. Some people find :else nil awkward, since nil is already the value of when-let when the binding value is falsey. An equivalent keyword clause is :is truthy. let-else/truthy is defined as a synonym of clojure.core/identity.

A not-quite-equivalent keyword clause is :is-not nil?, which distinguishes between nil and not-nil rather than falsey and truthy.


Version 1.0.7

Added unit tests. Fixed the behavior of :when nil which was being ignored. Updated Clojure dependency to 1.6.0.

Version 1.0.6

Removed dependency on flatland/useful and updated Clojure dependency to 1.5.1.

Version 1.0.5

Updated Clojure dependency to 1.5.0.

Version 1.0.4

Defined truthy as a synonym of identity, for use in the clause :is truthy.

Version 1.0.3:

  • Added the new keyword clause :is-not pred.
  • Changed the behavior of :else else in the presence of :when, :is, or :is-not so that else is evaluated inside the context of the binding. :else without other keyword clauses is still evaluated outside the binding context.
  • :delay is now ignored when other keyword clauses are present.

Version 1.0.2:

Fixed the behavior of :else falsey which was incorrectly being ignored.

Version 1.0.1:

Added the new keyword clause :is pred.