ClojureScript Up and Running (Book Review)
I’ve recently finished the “ClojureScript Up and Running” book by Stuart Sierra and Luke VanderHart. Here’s a quick review of it.
- It shows how to set up a Leiningen project with lein-cljsbuild and explains the compilation process in detail (with all the possible parameters and modes).
- It explains the development process – getting ClojureScript, working with browser REPL, testing, packaging for use with CLJS and plain JS applications.
- It gives a basic introduction to the language, which really is a head-first guide to Clojure (though I suspect it’s far from enough for people who don’t know Clojure, and for those who do know it it’s no use).
- It explains integration with Clojure, especially using EDN as an alternative to JSON.
- It also introduces a few CLJS libraries (little code, just an idea of what a library does). Among others it includes C2, jayq, enfocus, core.logic, domina. Google Closure is on the list as well.
There are many things I missed, though.
First and foremost, it does not do enough to explain why we need ClojureScript. It does not really try to convince anyone, it’s pretty much a very technical “up and running” guide.
It does not tell you how to write ClojureScript code. The explanation of setup, compilation and integration is great, but that’s all there is. Actually, there’s little about ClojureScript itself in the book. It’s like (unconvincingly) telling you that Java is the more robust and productive alternative to C++, showing how to use javac and Eclipse, “Hello World”, and a brief indication that there’s also JEE and Swing and this and that. I wish it had some case studies, chunks of actual ClojureScript code, some discussion of architecture, patterns, sample applications…
Perhaps it reflects the current state of ClojureScript – not yet very mature or stable, without mature and established libraries, patterns.
All in all, I have mixed feelings. The book is very dense and concrete, and delivers much content on so few pages. It’s true to its title – gets you up and running, and does it very well. But then immediately leaves you alone in the woods. We are yet to see “The ClojureScript Book”.