Friday, September 11, 2009

Why Clojure over other JVM Lisps: Kawa, Armed Bear or SISC?

Asked on stackoverflow .. here are some of my responses

The advantage of Clojure is that it gives you access to all the java libraries/code out there, and multi-threading support because it's based on the JVM. In addition it was designed with concurrency in mind, something not generally designed into lisp, although because of the mapping primitives it probably wouldn't be hard to design a lisp that would support concurrency well.
That being said, I tried Clojure and hated the syntax and the pain in the butt factor that seems to go along with anything Java-connected.


I should also add that Clojure is a relatively new language, implemented by one person, with good marketing skills and a lot of energy. He's investing a lot of time and hype into clojure ... sometimes, the hype is a self-fulfilling prophecy in that if you can convince enough people that it's the latest greatest thing, then you can get enough support and momentum to make it actually work.

I suspect the implementers of Kawa etc. don't have as much at stake, hence are not hyping their product. Besides, what's there to hype? "We've got a great language .. it's called Lisp" It's a harder marketing sell.

I think Java is a prime example of this. It had some very serious deficiencies, but because it was marketed and hyped so heavily it achieved a lot of momentum which meant support from hardware/software vendors, producers of tools, investment by industry, etc. Either way, it achieved a certain degree of success, although I hated programming in it. Clojure might achieve a similar success where other Lisps have not.


yes, but the question was in comparison to other Lisps on the JVM, which also have access to Java libraries. – Rainer Joswig 1 hour ago


They have access to Java libraries through a foreign function interface -- but with Clojure, since the code/data is compiled down to the JVM, the java code can also operate on the Clojure data structures. This gives a tighter and more seamless integration with Java. But, for me this is like having a closer and more intimate relationship with a girl that you don't really like or find attractive :) You can do it but what's the point? – Larry Watanabe 13 mins ago

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