Clojure Makes Me Feel Stupid

…but I’m kinda in love with it. Thanks to a friend/coworker I’m cautiously dipping my toe into the world of “functional programming”. I’m still not 100% certain I get the full gist of functional programming but, to my newb mind, I’d explain it as programming without consequences. Functions only depend on their inputs and external forces/state cannot muck with your function.

Apparently this makes it easier to predict what’s going on, but I still have issues reading what I just wrote. Parenthesis all the way down dudes. Also prefix notation is technically useful, but warping my poor little brain.

So 1 + 1 in Clojure is actually written as (+ 1 1). Makes sense, right? Sorta, except for the years and years of basic math classes that NEVER LOOKED LIKE THIS. Oh my brain. But it’s kinda cool that instead of 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 I only need to write (+ 1 2 3 4).

But seriously. This is a function in Clojure:

(defn adder 
  [x y]
  (+ x y))
(adder 3 4) ;; 7

Wat? So the first line defines the function name. The second line is the parameters that you give to the function and then the last line adds those two parameters together. I then call the function on line 5 with the arguments 3 and 4 and then the semicolons denote comments and I use that do show what the output of the function is… 7.

As a super ridiculous aside. Parameters vs arguments? Parameters are the things that you define with the function. So x and y on line 2 are parameters. Arguments are what you pass to the function when you want to actually use it. So 3 and 4 on line 5 are arguments. Now go forth and be awesome!

So how do you be Clojure learners too? Currently I’m running through the clojurebridge curriculum on my own. Clojure in 15 minutes looks like a decent-y rundown of most of my syntax options. If you don’t want to put anything on your system yet, or just want to mess around with the syntax, there’s always Try Clojure which lets you program from your browser. And I’ve bookmarked Clojure for the Brave and True mostly for the title, but I haven’t really read any of it yet.