ClojureX Conference 2017 - Sharing the Experiences of the Community

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to ClojureX 2017 and made it such a success. Here is a quick recap of just a few of my hightlights from this year’s conference and some of the amazing feedback we have already received.

ClojureX 2017 - feedback

Don’t forget Super Early Bird tickets for ClojureX 2018 are available until Friday 8th December. Save £555 and take part in shaping the talks and activities for ClojureX 2018.

ClojureX - Clojure eXchange Conference 2018

10 amazing years of Clojure

I opened the conference with a very speedy talk about the last 10 years of Clojure and the London Clojurian community, as the opener to the Keynote speech - African Polyphony and Polyrhytm by Chris Ford.

So many things have happened since Rich Hickey announce Clojure to the world on the 16th September 2007. There has been an explosion of open source projects with over 8,500 libraries now available, so developing apps has never been more productive. Clojure is also not afraid of borrowing the most interesting concepts from many other languages too, for example core.async from Go channels.

The tooling support for Clojure is superb, with Atom ProtoREPL joining Cursive Clojure and Emacs with first class support for Clojure and ClojureScript. Boot has also matured and is growing in adoption, although Leiningen is still the defacto build tool for most.

And the London Clojurian community has been going since 2009, thanks to Bruce and Robert. Since then the community has grown with over 1,000 members on the London Clojurians meetup site and hundreds of events over the years (88 events since April 2016 alone).


Renzo and Liam got everyone at the conference thinking with some deviously simple looking Clojure Puzzlers. Every language has its quirks and Renzo was writing his book on the Clojure standard library he found a few expressions to make you think.

My favorite puzzler was:

Clojure Puzzlers

Sharing Experiences

Maria Mestre & Chloe Pont shared their experiences building a natural language processing pipeline for HealthUnlocked using Clojure. Although there is much work in the data science world done using Python, it is projects like this which show how ideal the Clojure language is for Data Science.

ClojureX 2017 - Natural Language Processing Pipeline in Clojure - HealthUnlocked

Hugo Firth has been running the coding dojo at uSwitch for a long time now and so it was great to have him present some of the exciting things they are doing with Clojure. This particular talk is fascinating as it takes a legacy system and completely changes the way it is build to produce an elegant solution, all without the need for a database. There was much talk about this (Rails->Clojure :Remove Database) approach during the rest of the conference.

ClojureX 2017 - Rails - Clojure :Remoe Database

Jason Bell shared experiences from the MastodonC team on the use of Onyx and other streaming applications like Kafka, going from the many assumptions made during paper design to how they dealt with deployment in to the real world when those assumptions didn’t work out. This has got to be one of the funniest serious talk I’ve seen for a while.

ClojureX 2017 - Clojure Streaming Applications

Hacking with Clojure

Gaivile gave her first talk at ClojureX 2016 and we were very pleased to have her back to talk about Hacking Games with Clojure. Last year Gaivile created a psychedelic version of the classic Snake game using the Quil project, a wrapper for the Java processing 2D graphics library. Quil has evolved now to support ClojureScript too, so you can create graphics for the web very easily.

This year Gaivile create two games. The first is the classic Breakout game and again this was made even more fun by randomly changing the colours based on key events in the game. The second game was a departure from Quil and instead used the React.js style web framework called Reagent. Gaivile built a good looking version of Tic Tac Toe with the computer as an opponent which was all great experience for building Re-frame applications at HealthUnlocked.

I’m looking forward to more game hacking from Gaivile over the next year.

ClojureX 2017 - Hacking Games in Clojure

Opportunities to help

Clojure has a tightly managed language and set of core libraries, thanks to 141 contributors to the Clojure project and to Cognitech for shaping the direction. There is a much more diverse set of libraries and projects that drive Clojure development every day. Many of these projects are created by motivated individuals or small groups and they would welcome your support.

Testing out new features, helping resolve issue and contributing pull requests are all valuable activities that the wider community can do to support project maintainers.

To this end, the London Clojurians are planning to organise events to help the community contribute to these projects and guide people on how they can make a very positive contribution. Please keep an eye out for more details on the London Clojurians meetup site.

More than just talks

At the conference this year there were lots of hallway discussions in between the talks, which everyone found invaluable. These complemented the talks and it was a great chance to meet new many of the new people in the Clojure community as well as catch up with firm friends.

Many Clojurians are spread far and wide and yet regularly keep in touch through #clojure-uk slack channel on the Clojurians Slack community and the London Clojurians group. Its a great opportunity to put real faces to people you only get to talk to electronically.

ClojureX 2017 - high level of engagement from clojure companies

ClojureX 2018 - The start of the next 10 years

We are excited to announce the next ClojureX conference on 3rd & 4th December 2018. If you are quick, you will get a super early bird ticket and save £555 on the full ticket.

Buying a ticket gives you direct input into the topics, speakers and activities we organise for ClojureX 2018. The program committee are eager to hear your feedback and ideas for next year.

For a flavour of topics at next years conference, talk a look at the ClojureX park bench panel discussion on the next 10 years of Clojure . I was surprised and enlightened by the answers.

Clojure Panel - The next 10 years of Clojure

We have a couple of speakers interested in speaking already and the organising team, with your input, will be actively seeking many more experience reports and valuable lessons learned from the whole spectrum of the Clojure/ClojureScript community.

  • Mathieu Gauthron- Sparkling with Apache Spark - lessons learnt from using both Scala and Clojure with Apache Spark for

  • James Henderson - Statically Typed Lisp - James has contributed many libraries in the Clojure community and is working on a new library to provide static typing where it is really valuable.

We also plan to have prominent contributors from Clojure projects, more on data science, neural networks and AI as its such a natural fit with Clojure.

ClojureScript has become so prevalent that we want to hear from the community on how they are using it. There are lots of great frameworks out there and ClojureScript goes a long way to making the web a great developer experience.

We will also be hunting down some amazing keynote speaker, just like we have done each year. If you have someone you really want to hear from (okay, as well as Rich Hickey), then please share your thoughts.

We hope you will take part in ClojureX 2018 and make this another amazing event for the Clojure Community.

Thank you.

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