Experimental creative coding framework
JavaScript Clojure Other
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Zajal 0.6 - Atlantic

Atlantic is the next major rewrite of the Zajal creative coding framework. It is built on ClojureScript, Reagent, React, ThreeJS and the ongoing progress of the Arcadia project. The goal, as always, is to create a highly expressive, completely live creative coding experience suitable for beginners and advanced programmers alike.

This fourth rewrite, continues the exploration of Clojure and Lisp in the service of creative coding, but builds on a web-based stack of functional reactive tools that have become practical in recent years. This incarnation of Zajal, like the previous one and the Arcadia project, experiments with the effects of functional programming on high performance interactive graphics programming. The hope is to provide a real semantic alternative to the imperative painters-algorithm style tools available today.


Extremely early, nothing beyond the basic concept has been demonstrated to work.

;; start state of the sketch
(def start {:click-count 0})

;; function to update the state each frame
(defn step [state {:keys [mouse]}]
  (if (:pressed? mouse)
    (update state :click-count inc)

;; function to draw the state
(defn draw [{:keys [click-count]}]
  (em (text "Clicks ")
      (text (there/prand click-count))))

(defonce test-sketch
  (sketch start #'step #'draw))


The current prototype (in the electron folder) is a JavaScript Electron project with the clojurescript-npm package built in.

The trajectory of the project is towards a functional approach that uses some kind of "virtual" representation of the HTML DOM and ThreeJS scene graph. Existing implementations were evaluated and rejected due to their performance and inflexibility. We're now using a new virtual DOM implementation that is actively being researched and developed. Initial results are promising.


Electron needs to be installed.

git clone https://github.com/nasser/zajal.git
cd zajal
git checkout atlantic
cd electron
electron .

Using (Figwheel)

The old Figwheel prototype still works, but will be phased out of the repo at some point.

Leiningen needs to be installed.

git clone https://github.com/nasser/zajal.git
cd zajal
git checkout atlantic
cd figwheel-browser
lein figwheel


Zajal is a labor of love by Ramsey Nasser. Use it for good, not evil.

Provided under the MIT License.


This project has been generously supported by the following institutions. They believed in it, challenged it, and pushed it forward. Zajal would be nowhere without them, and I thank them all deeply.