My bud Matt Raible blogged about reading a Scala book and I mentioned Stuart Holloway's "Programming Clojure". Matt replied "I like Scala and Groovy and see no compelling reason to learn Clojure. Am I missing something?"

Good question. Eric Lavigne said a few things about Clojure that caught my attention:

"My knowledge of Groovy and Scala are very limited, but here are my impressions relative to Clojure.

Scala seems like a good programming language. Its static typing reduces its flexibility compared to Clojure, but may still be a good deal because it helps with catching errors more quickly. Scala also has been around longer than Clojure, and has used that time to develop more sophisticated libraries than are available for Clojure right now. So why is Clojure still worth learning? Scala gets much of its flexibility from having a lot of features built into the language. Clojure has a small number of language features that are carefully chosen to work well together. The result is a language that is both very flexible and very easy to learn.

One of the design goals of Groovy was to be compatible with Java code, but providing some extra features, just as C++ was designed to be compatible with C. This is a good thing if you have a lot of Java code that you want to migrate, or if you are uncomfortable with learning something new. However, Java is inflexible and overly complicated, and trying to maintain compatibility with Java prevented Groovy from being much better than Java. I quickly lost interest in Groovy so it's possible that I missed something - I would love to hear what advantages Groovy has compared to Scala or Clojure."

There's a Clojure group on the web and this spawned a discussion there entitled "Matt Raible: "Why is Clojure better than Scala or Groovy?"

Let's discuss this! There's a Clojure group... http://www.codetown.us/group/clojure Let's dip our feet in and see what all the talk is about. I'll start a discussion there. You can join in on the discussion: "Why Clojure?" in the Clojure group, where it belongs.


I am going to take another look at Eric's Clojure code that won the CodeTown Coding Contest #1 on Wari. It's a great way to see how things work from a practical perspective. The Compojure web framework is also something I want to see... Stay tuned!

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Comment by Michael Levin on January 19, 2010 at 11:32am
What are some examples where Clojure has fewer issues, Jackie?
Comment by Jackie Gleason on January 19, 2010 at 11:18am
I love Groovy but Clojure does seem to give you a lot of the simplicity with less byte code issues (although scala seems pretty good here). For now, however, I will continue using Groovy :-)

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