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Clojure + deps.edn, a basic guide.

After a rather long break from programming and Clojure I decided give them another go. When it comes to managing Clojure projects, Leiningen is de-facto standard tool. Recently, Clojure CLI tools are becoming more and more popular, though. Switching to yet-another-build-tool doesn't have any pragmatic value, but it's perfect for learning purposes.

From a build tool I expect it to perform certain tasks:

  1. Creating a project.
  2. Managing source and tests paths.
  3. Managing dependencies.
  4. Running tests.
  5. Building a self-contained JAR, a.k.a. uberjar.
  6. Managing outdated dependencies.

Let's see how it's performed using Clojure CLI tools, a.k.a. deps.edn.

Creating a project

Leiningen allows to generate a project structure simply by invoking:

$ lein new [template] [project-name]

We get a lot for free, but is it really needed? How is it done with Clojure CLI tools?

Imagine a simple project. It allows add and divide numbers, it also prints some example calculations when invoked. We can start by simply creating a new directory:

$ mkdir cdeps && cd cdeps

Now, let's add an empty deps.edn file:

;; /deps.edn

And now we can start adding some actual code to the project.

Managing source and tests paths

To demonstrate the feature of managing source paths we will put our code at src/main/clojure.

$ mkdir -p src/main/clojure

deps.edn is no magic so we can just set the path in the file:

;; deps.edn
{:paths ["src/main/clojure"]}

Now, we can write the calculator code:

;; src/main/clojure/com/tomekw/cdeps/calculator.clj
(ns com.tomekw.cdeps.calculator)

(defn plus [a b]
  (+ a b))

(defn divide [a b]
  (/ a b))

Managing dependencies

In such a simple project there is no real need to add external dependencies. We can always specify the Clojure version we would like to use, though:

;; deps.edn
{:paths ["src/main/clojure"]
 :deps  {org.clojure/clojure {:mvn/version "1.10.1"}}}

Clojure CLI tools allow to specify local and git dependencies too, see documentation and more examples.

Running tests

The calculator we wrote is super simple but we can still write some tests:

;; test/main/clojure/com/tomekw/cdeps/calculator_test.clj
(ns com.tomekw.cdeps.calculator-test
  (:require [clojure.test :refer :all]
            [com.tomekw.cdeps.calculator :refer :all]))

(deftest adding-numbers
  (is (= 4 (plus 2 2))))

(deftest dividing-numbers
  (is (= 2 (divide 4 2))))

(deftest dividing-numbers-by-zero
  (is (thrown? ArithmeticException (divide 1 0))))

Now we need to run them to make sure they pass. We have to add an alias (a command we will run), and a test runner, as an extra dependency. I picked kaocha. Also, we need to tell the runner where the tests are located:

;; deps.edn
{:paths   ["src/main/clojure"]
 :deps    {org.clojure/clojure {:mvn/version "1.10.1"}}
 :aliases {:test {:extra-paths ["test/main/clojure"]
                  :extra-deps  {lambdaisland/kaocha {:mvn/version "0.0-529"}}
                  :main-opts   ["-m" "kaocha.runner"]}}}

Here is the test report:

$ clj -Atest
3 tests, 3 assertions, 0 failures.

Building a self-contained JAT, a.k.a. uberjar

Presume, we would like to print example calculations to the console. Let's add the code to do that:

;; src/main/clojure/com/tomekw/cdeps/core.clj
(ns com.tomekw.cdeps.core
  (:require [com.tomekw.cdeps.calculator :refer :all]))

(defn -main [& args]
  (do (println (format "2 + 2 is %s" (plus 2 2)))
      (println (format "4 / 2 is %s" (divide 4 2)))))

To run the main function we can invoke the following command:

$ clj -m com.tomekw.cdeps.core
2 + 2 is 4
4 / 2 is 2

It could be burdensome for the users of our calculator to install Clojure. To avoid this, we can package our project as a standalone Java JAR. There is number of tools to do that, like cambada, but I've decided to try out uberdeps. Let's add a proper configuration first:

;; deps.edn
{:paths   ["src/main/clojure"]
 :deps    {org.clojure/clojure {:mvn/version "1.10.1"}}
 :aliases {:test    {:extra-paths ["test/main/clojure"]
                     :extra-deps  {lambdaisland/kaocha {:mvn/version "0.0-529"}}
                     :main-opts   ["-m" "kaocha.runner"]}
           :uberjar {:extra-deps {uberdeps {:mvn/version "0.1.4"}}
                     :main-opts  ["-m" "uberdeps.uberjar" "--target" "target/cdeps-0.1.0.jar"]}}}

To package the project we simply run:

$ clj -Auberjar
[uberdeps] Packaging target/cdeps-0.1.0.jar...
+ src/main/clojure/**
+ org.clojure/clojure 1.10.1
.   org.clojure/core.specs.alpha 0.2.44
.   org.clojure/spec.alpha 0.2.176
[uberdeps] Packaged target/cdeps-0.1.0.jar in 567 ms

And now we can run the project with Java:

$ java -cp target/cdeps-0.1.0.jar clojure.main -m com.tomekw.cdeps.core
2 + 2 is 4
4 / 2 is 2

Managing outdated dependencies

It's often needed to manage the versions of all dependencies we put into our deps.edn file. There is a tool named depot:

;; deps.edn
{:paths   ["src/main/clojure"]
 :deps    {org.clojure/clojure {:mvn/version "1.10.1"}}
 :aliases {:test     {:extra-paths ["test/main/clojure"]
                      :extra-deps  {lambdaisland/kaocha {:mvn/version "0.0-529"}}
                      :main-opts   ["-m" "kaocha.runner"]}
           :outdated {:extra-deps {olical/depot {:mvn/version "1.8.4"}}
                      :main-opts  ["-m" "depot.outdated.main" "-a" "outdated"]}
           :uberjar  {:extra-deps {uberdeps {:mvn/version "0.1.4"}}
                      :main-opts  ["-m" "uberdeps.uberjar" "--target" "target/cdeps-0.1.0.jar"]}}}

Everything should be up to date:

$ clj -Aoutdated
All up to date!


This guide covers basic use-cases in the daily workflow with Clojure. Of course there is alwats more than I presented here, like deploying the project to Clojars. The process is still not fully automated and I will try to cover it with the next post.


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