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Spreadsheet-like dataflow programming in ClojureScript.
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Spreadsheet-like Functional Reactive Programming (FRP) in ClojureScript.

This library is usable but under construction and subject to frequent change.


(ns your-ns
  (:require [tailrecursion.javelin :refer [cell]])
  (:require-macros [tailrecursion.javelin :refer [cell=]]))

(defn start []
  (let [a (cell 0)              ;; input cell with initial value of 0.
        b (cell= (inc a))       ;; formula cell of a+1.
        c (cell= (+ 123 a b))]  ;; formula cell of a+b+123.
    (cell= (.log js/console c)) ;; anonymous formula cell for side effects.
    ;; c's initial value, 124, is printed.
    (swap! a inc)
    ;; a was incremented, and its new value propagated (consistently)
    ;; through b and c.  c's new value, 126, is printed to the console.

Dependency Build Status

Artifacts are published on Clojars.

[tailrecursion/javelin "2.0.2"]



Javelin provides a spreadsheet-like computing environment consisting of cells, values, and formulas. The Cell reference type is the FRP equivalent of the Clojure atom. Formulas are ClojureScript expressions that may contain references to other cells.

All Cells
  • contain values.
  • implement the IWatchable interface.
  • are dereferenced with deref or the @ reader macro.
Input Cells
  • are created by the cell function or defc macro.
  • are updated explicitly using swap! or reset!.
Formula Cells
  • are created by the cell= or defc= macros.
  • are updated reactively according to a formula.
  • are read-only—updating a formula cell via swap! or reset! is an error.

Some examples of cells:

(defc a 42)               ;; cell containing the number 42
(defc b '(+ 1 2))         ;; cell containing the list (+ 1 2)
(defc c (+ 1 2))          ;; cell containing the number 3
(defc d {:x @a})          ;; cell containing the map {:x 42}

(defc= e {:x a})          ;; cell with formula {:x a}, updated when a changes
(defc= f (+ a 1))         ;; cell with formula (+ a 1), updated when a changes
(defc= g (+ a ~(inc @a))) ;; cell with formula (+ a 43), updated when a changes
(defc= h [e f g])         ;; cell with formula [e f g], updated when e, f, or g change

@h                        ;;=> [{:x 42} 43 85]
(reset! a 7)              ;;=> 7
@h                        ;;=> [{:x 7} 8 50]
(swap! f inc)             ;;=> ERROR: f is a formula cell, it updates itself!

Note the use of ~ in the definition of g. The expression (inc @a) is evaluated and the resulting value is used when creating the formula, rather than being recomputed each time the cell updates. See the Formulas section below.

Cells can be microbeasts...

(defc test-results
  {:scores [74 51 97 88 89 91 72 77 69 72 45 63]
   :proctor "Mr. Smith"
   :subject "Organic Chemistry"
   :sequence "CHM2049"})

(defc= test-results-with-mean
  (let [scores (:scores test-results)
        mean   (/ (reduce + scores) (count scores))
        grade  (cond (<= 90 mean) :A
                     (<= 80 mean) :B
                     (<= 70 mean) :C
                     (<= 60 mean) :D
                     :else        :F)]
    (assoc test-results :mean mean :grade grade)))


To create a formula cell all macros in the given formula expression are fully expanded. Then the resulting expression is walked recursively according to the following rules:

  • The unquote form causes its argument to be evaluated in place and not walked.
  • The unquote-splicing form is interpreted as the composition of unquote as above and deref.

Some things don't make sense in formulas and cause errors:

  • Unsupported forms def, ns, deftype*, and defrecord*.
  • Circular dependencies between cells result in infinite loops at runtime.

Javelin API

Requiring the namespace and macros:

(ns my-ns
    [tailrecursion.javelin :refer [cell? input? cell set-cell! destroy-cell!]])
    [tailrecursion.javelin :refer [cell= defc defc= set-cell!=]]))

API functions and macros:

(cell? c)
;; Returns c if c is a Cell, nil otherwise.

(input? c)
;; Returns c if c is an input cell, nil otherwise.

(cell expr)
;; Create new input cell with initial value expr.

(cell= expr)
;; Create new fomula cell with formula expr.

(defc symbol expr)
(defc symbol doc-string expr)
;; Creates a new input cell and binds it to a var with the name symbol.

(defc= symbol expr)
(defc= symbol doc-string expr)
;; Creates a new formula cell and binds it to a var with the name symbol.

(set-cell! c expr)
;; Convert c to input cell (if necessary) with initial value expr.

(set-cell!= c expr)
;; Convert c to formula cell (if necessary) with formula expr.

(destroy-cell! c)
;; Disconnects c from the propagation graph so it can be GC'd.


Copyright (c) Alan Dipert and Micha Niskin. All rights
reserved. The use and distribution terms for this software are
covered by the Eclipse Public License 1.0
( which can be
found in the file epl-v10.html at the root of this
distribution. By using this software in any fashion, you are
agreeing to be bound by the terms of this license. You must not
remove this notice, or any other, from this software.
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