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An introduction to Clojure, for programmers who are new to Clojure.
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What could one do with just a little bit of Clojure?

Intended usage

  • Support a 1-day guided workshop for programmers new to Clojure (not absolute programming beginners).
  • Also function as at-home learning material for said programmers.
  • The master branch is heavily commented, for at-home use
  • A solutions branch will be available, as a companion to master. But don't peek at it in advance!
  • You may see a workshop-code branch. Ignore it. It is meant only for workshop use, and is subject to deletion/re-creation.
  • Incidentally, if you landed here while searching for Kim Hirokuni's "Clojure By Example", well, follow the link!


  • If you find bugs or errors, please send a PR (but please don't change the course structure or pedagogy).

Workshop Goals

  • Acquire a "feel" of Clojure, for further self-study/exploration.
  • Learn how Clojurists usually think with Clojure to solve problems.
  • See how it's not so hard to do surprisingly powerful things with a mere handful of "primitive" functions, data structures, and ideas.

Workshop Anti-Goals

  • Try to explain Functional Programming theory or Clojure's innards. (Many free and paid tutorials and books do so very well.)
  • Try to fully cover Clojure primitives/features. (That's homework!)
  • Devolve into language wars, editor wars, syntax wars, type wars... (Life's too short, people.)
  • Focus too much on tooling or operational things. (At least not while there's fun to be had!)

Suggested learning mindset

  • Think of this as an exercise in "constrained creativity".
  • Ignore details, achieve much with as little know-how as possible.
  • Focus on what things do; not what they are, or why they are.
  • Inform your intuition for doing things, and then use that to dive deeper into all the juicy details at your own pace, later.

Take what is useful, discard the rest.

Setup Instructions

It's a liiitle bit of work. But not too bad.

Just do the following one by one, and you should be fine.

Java 8

You will need Java to work with this Clojure workshop content.

First, make sure you have Java 8.


  • If you have Java 9+, or Open JDK 9+ that should be OK too.
  • We have not tested this project with Java 7.


Follow Leiningen setup instructions here.

Fire up a REPL

  • Clone this project
  • Open your terminal, and do the following.
  • cd into this project's root directory
  • Use lein repl command to start a REPL with Leiningen.
  • Wait for it... the REPL will start and print out a message with some useful information
  • Locate the port and host information in the message. We will need this information soon.


  • Boot should be fine too, but we have not tested this project with it.

Code Editor and Tooling

Set up an editor and figure out how to evaluate Clojure code with it.

IntelliJ + Cursive IDE

We support IntelliJ + Cursive IDE in the classroom for this workshop. We suggest you use this setup, unless of course, you have already configured your favourite editor for Clojure development. Avoid bikeshedding editors. Just complete the workshop first!

Once installed:

  • Launch IntelliJ and select "Import Project" from the opening splash screen.
  • OR use IntelliJ's file menu to open this project via File > New > Project From Existing Sources
  • Select this project's main directory; click OK
  • The "Import Project" dialog box should open
  • Select Leiningen under "Import project from external model"; click Next
  • Click Next again in the following screen that shows "Root Directory"; wait for it...
  • Again, click Next in the screen that says "Select Leiningen projects to import"
  • And again, click Next in the "Please select project SDK" screen (ensure you select JDK version 1.8 or higher)
  • Click "Finish", and wait for IntelliJ to set up the project
  • In the left pane, navigate down to the project.clj file, under the project's root folder.
  • Right click on project.clj and select the option that says "Run REPL for ..."
  • A right pane should open, with a REPL session.
  • Now, open the ex00.. file under the src folder
  • Use the menu under Tools > REPL to (a) Switch to the file's "namespace", and then (b) load the file into the REPL
  • Scroll down a little, till you see (+ 1 2).
  • Place your cursor after the closing parenthesis ), then right-click to open the context menu, and click on REPL > "Send '(+ 1 2)' to the REPL.
  • You should see '(+ 1 2)' appear in the REPL window, followed by 3. This means you successfully evaluated an expression in the REPL.
  • Now you may start from the top of ex00 and work through the material in each "ex" file
  • Important: For every exercise file, remember to first switch to the file's namespace, and load the file in the REPL (use the menu under Tools > REPL)

Also keep the Cursive user guide handy, in case you need editor help, as you solve the workshop material. In particular, the Paredit guide may be useful, if you stumble when editing Clojure code.

Alternative Starter Kits:

If you can't use IntelliJ for some reason, you may try one of these. Although we haven't tested with these setups, the workshop material should work fine.

Your favourite editor:

You may find instructions for your favourite editor at one of these pages. But there are only so many choices. Ultimately, you must pick your poison and run with it:

Course Design Philosophy

Just some peoples' opinion. You need not be slave to it ;-)

Almost anyone can hope to do more with more. Up to a point, that is.

Far too often, we end up doing less with more; bogged down by the complexity and blinding glitter of too much choice, and overabundance.

Figuring out how to do more with less feeds our curiosity, and it often satisfies and empowers us deeply.

So, may you stay small and achieve important things.

Live long, and prosper. \\//_


  • clj-pune people, especially kapilreddy, and jaju for critique while making "pratham", the precursor to this project.
  • adityaathalye, jysandy, and kapilreddy for course design, code reviews, critique, commits, and being the core teaching staff at the first edition of this workshop at IN/Clojure 2018.
  • All the workshop participants, and the many Clojurists who generously donated their time to make it successful.
  • inclojure-org for being the umbrella under which this work happened.

Copyright and License

Copyright © 2017-2018 IN/Clojure.

Distributed under the MIT license.

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