The London Clojure Community

This week we have John Stevenson from the London Clojurians talking to us about the state of Clojure in London, from his point of view.

The London tech scene

London is a great city for technical communities as there is a large concentration of developers working here from all over Europe. There are many hundreds of communities to get involved with and you can easily find many engaging meetups to attend every night and lots of hack days and hackathons at weekends too.

There are many companies who support these developer communities, especially SkillsMatter who provide a venue for any technical communities to use for free. There is also a lot of activity in the many universities around London, with students looking to extend their experiences beyond what the learn on their courses. And of course, there is a very active startup scene in London, much of which is in the “Silicon Roundabout” area of London.

More people are discovering the benefits of a career in software development thanks to several communities aimed at helping people get into coding. Codebar has weekly events where experienced developers coach those new to coding in a range of languages. Our own community runs ClojureBridge London events where we have helped 150+ people to code through Clojure

London is a great place for a career using Clojure with many companies advertising Clojure specific roles and start-ups adopting Clojure too. There are also many opportunities in Functional Programming with other languages too, especially in Scala and a growing interest in Haskell. There is even a Functional Programming focused recruitment company called Functional Works.

Why are you excited about Clojure

There is a simple joy of developing in Clojure and I find it very addictive. I fire up a Clojure REPL, typically in Spacemacs, and I really feel connected to every line of code I am writing. I love the instant feedback the REPL gives me on both the code and tests I write, providing a great deal of insight into what the code is actually doing at any given time.

Datomic is the Clojure database that lets you store the entire history of your data, rather than just the current state and I will be working on high value project using this technology. Its a very exciting new challenge and its great to see how the business I am working for really values Clojure as a technology that gives it a competitive advantage.

Personal highlights from the last year

I’ve seen our community grow continually over the last 10 years and I am excited to see more people enjoying the fun of Clojure. Helping developers to think functionally has been very rewarding, so it’s great to see more and more developers learning Clojure. There is a huge amount of support available from online communities, a wide range of books and so many great tutorials. It has become really easy to learn to do just about anything in Clojure and there is no sign of this abating.

The last few years have seen a big rise for ClojureScript, developing applications for node and client side single page apps. ClojureScript is now self-hosted and has great tooling support from Plank and Lumo. I am also excited to see ClojureScript on mobile becoming a viable option through React Native.

We have been mentoring more people in Clojure and Functional Programming for many years and helping them get their first job with Clojure. Much of the mentoring is done via our coding dojo events, where we decide on a challenge and get into groups of 2-4 people to create our solutions. At the end of the event, we share what we have created so we can all learn a little bit more. I’ve also started running weekly mentoring sessions with several developers, adding structure and focus to their learning, providing clarity where concepts are not well understood. This has been very rewarding and has given myself a much better insight into areas of Clojure I know well and identifying those I find a little opaque.

What are your future plans for the meetup

The London Clojurians meetup is one of the most active communities in London in terms of events, with 4 meetups each month (2 coding dojo’s, a talk-night and a one-day workshop). We also organise an annual ClojureX conference in December and this year is our 10th anniversary.

We have been encouraging new speakers to present their experiences at the talk nights and we want to see this increase. Hearing these experiences gives insight into understanding how better to help those seeking to gain more confidence with Clojure and how we can improve Clojure itself. We hope to see an even greater number of people sharing their experiences at these events in future.

It’s challenging to run more than 4 events a month, so, we would like to experiment with virtual events to reach a wider audience and access a wider range of speakers. Having speakers present virtually to a live audience will provide the interaction missing from simply watching a video. Running workshops virtually will enable anyone (in a reasonable time zone) to join in and again have some level of interaction. Having run a one-day Clojure workshop for the last few years as part of HackTheTower. I will run this virtually covering a specific topic or project each month. If this virtual workshop is successful, then I hope to run it more often.

Find the London Clojurians at or on the #clojure-uk channel of the clojurians slack community.