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Published on May 14, 2012
Riffing on Michael Fogus's commentary in his post "All in the family" (April 6, 2011) where he questions the classification of languages into families, this talk will discuss why those qualities which make Ruby appealing to us might make Clojure even more so. Broadly, I'll discuss language features and idioms in Clojure as they relate to Ruby, contrast of their respective programming environments, and periodically touch on harmonious aspects between the two.
Within the scope of language, Ruby gives the imperative programmer a toe-dip in the vast pool of functional programming. I'll explore the power provided by purely functional language constructs in a language with true higher-order functions as they extend the basic FP-like constructs we already know and love in Ruby. Because Clojure is (optionally) functional it contains unique immutable concurrency constructs I will briefly introduce, compare to Ruby's available concurrency strategies, and then demonstrate as data types imported into a JRuby program. On the more aesthetic side of the equation, I'll compare declarative Ruby programming (which often necessitates metaprogramming) to declarative Clojure code and use that as a segue into a brief overview of Clojure's simple and powerful metaprogramming facilities. This portion will include a conversation regarding the ""when do I turn this Ruby hash into a class?"" dilemma and how that question is answered at the language level by Clojure.
Moving on to programming environments, the conversation will continue with a comparison of CoffeeScript and ClojureScript: a quick overview of their respective implementations and the interesting consequences of ClojureScript's Clojure-subset status (i.e. Clojure macros are available in ClojureScript, shared client/server code, etc.). Second, exploratory programming in IRB vs. the Clojure REPL, with emacs ""live coding"" and ClojureScript REPL-in-the-browser demonstrations. The last topic will cover build and deploy environments, where Rake and Rubygems still have a distinct maturity and usability advantage over the present Clojure alternatives, Leinigen/Cake and Clojars.