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Clojure vs CoffeeScript: What are the differences?

Clojure: A dynamic programming language that targets the Java Virtual Machine. Clojure is designed to be a general-purpose language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Clojure is a compiled language - it compiles directly to JVM bytecode, yet remains completely dynamic. Clojure is a dialect of Lisp, and shares with Lisp the code-as-data philosophy and a powerful macro system; CoffeeScript: Unfancy JavaScript. CoffeeScript is a little language that compiles into JavaScript. Underneath that awkward Java-esque patina, JavaScript has always had a gorgeous heart. CoffeeScript is an attempt to expose the good parts of JavaScript in a simple way.

Clojure and CoffeeScript belong to "Languages" category of the tech stack.

"It is a lisp", "Concise syntax" and "Persistent data structures" are the key factors why developers consider Clojure; whereas "Easy to read", "Faster to write" and "Syntactic sugar" are the primary reasons why CoffeeScript is favored.

Clojure and CoffeeScript are both open source tools. CoffeeScript with 15.2K GitHub stars and 1.99K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Clojure with 7.85K GitHub stars and 1.25K GitHub forks.

Code School, Zaarly, and thoughtbot are some of the popular companies that use CoffeeScript, whereas Clojure is used by CircleCI, Groupon, and Soundcloud. CoffeeScript has a broader approval, being mentioned in 364 company stacks & 170 developers stacks; compared to Clojure, which is listed in 95 company stacks and 80 developer stacks.

What is Clojure?

Clojure is designed to be a general-purpose language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Clojure is a compiled language - it compiles directly to JVM bytecode, yet remains completely dynamic. Clojure is a dialect of Lisp, and shares with Lisp the code-as-data philosophy and a powerful macro system.

What is CoffeeScript?

It adds syntactic sugar inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell in an effort to enhance JavaScript's brevity and readability. Specific additional features include list comprehension and de-structuring assignment.
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What are some alternatives to Clojure and CoffeeScript?
Scala
Scala is an acronym for “Scalable Language”. This means that Scala grows with you. You can play with it by typing one-line expressions and observing the results. But you can also rely on it for large mission critical systems, as many companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, or Intel do. To some, Scala feels like a scripting language. Its syntax is concise and low ceremony; its types get out of the way because the compiler can infer them.
Haskell
Common Lisp
Lisp was originally created as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs, influenced by the notation of Alonzo Church's lambda calculus. It quickly became the favored programming language for artificial intelligence (AI) research. As one of the earliest programming languages, Lisp pioneered many ideas in computer science, including tree data structures, automatic storage management, dynamic typing, conditionals, higher-order functions, recursion, and the self-hosting compiler. [source: wikipedia]
Elixir
Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed and fault-tolerant systems, while also being successfully used in web development and the embedded software domain.
Julia
Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language for technical computing, with syntax that is familiar to users of other technical computing environments. It provides a sophisticated compiler, distributed parallel execution, numerical accuracy, and an extensive mathematical function library.
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Decisions about Clojure and CoffeeScript
Jake Stein
Jake Stein
CEO at Stitch · | 15 upvotes · 75.7K views
atStitchStitch
ES6
ES6
JavaScript
JavaScript
CoffeeScript
CoffeeScript
React
React
AngularJS
AngularJS

Stitch’s frontend is used to configure data sources and destinations and monitor the status of each. Although we have been using AngularJS since its early days, we recently introduced React components into our front end, which many of our developers find easier to work with. We started using CoffeeScript when it was one of the few options for a more expressive alternative to vanilla JavaScript, but today we opt to instead write new code in ES6, which we feel is a more mature alternative.

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Jake Stein
Jake Stein
CEO at Stitch · | 13 upvotes · 95.8K views
atStitchStitch
Go
Go
Clojure
Clojure
JavaScript
JavaScript
Python
Python
Kubernetes
Kubernetes
AWS OpsWorks
AWS OpsWorks
Amazon EC2
Amazon EC2
Amazon Redshift
Amazon Redshift
Amazon S3
Amazon S3
Amazon RDS
Amazon RDS

Stitch is run entirely on AWS. All of our transactional databases are run with Amazon RDS, and we rely on Amazon S3 for data persistence in various stages of our pipeline. Our product integrates with Amazon Redshift as a data destination, and we also use Redshift as an internal data warehouse (powered by Stitch, of course).

The majority of our services run on stateless Amazon EC2 instances that are managed by AWS OpsWorks. We recently introduced Kubernetes into our infrastructure to run the scheduled jobs that execute Singer code to extract data from various sources. Although we tend to be wary of shiny new toys, Kubernetes has proven to be a good fit for this problem, and its stability, strong community and helpful tooling have made it easy for us to incorporate into our operations.

While we continue to be happy with Clojure for our internal services, we felt that its relatively narrow adoption could impede Singer's growth. We chose Python both because it is well suited to the task, and it seems to have reached critical mass among data engineers. All that being said, the Singer spec is language agnostic, and integrations and libraries have been developed in JavaScript, Go, and Clojure.

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Eli Hooten
Eli Hooten
CTO at Codecov · | 11 upvotes · 56.1K views
atCodecovCodecov
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code
Vue.js
Vue.js
CoffeeScript
CoffeeScript
JavaScript
JavaScript
TypeScript
TypeScript

We chose TypeScript at Codecov when undergoing a recent rewrite of a legacy front end. Our previous front end was a mishmash of vanilla JavaScript and CoffeeScript , and was expanded upon haphazardly as the need arose. Without a unifying set of paradigms and patterns, the CoffeeScript and JavaScript setup was proving hard to maintain and expand upon by an engineering team. During a move to Vue.js , we decided to also make the move to TypeScript. Integrating TypeScript and Vue.js is fairly well understood at this point, so the setup wasn't all that difficult, and we felt that the benefits of incorporating TypeScript would outweigh the required time to set it up and get our engineering team up to speed.

Choosing to add TypeScript has given us one more layer to rely on to help enforce code quality, good standards, and best practices within our engineering organization. One of the biggest benefits for us as an engineering team has been how well our IDEs and editors (e.g., Visual Studio Code ) integrate with and understand TypeScript . This allows developers to catch many more errors at development time instead of relying on run time. The end result is safer (from a type perspective) code and a more efficient coding experience that helps to catch and remove errors with less developer effort.

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C#
C#
Java
Java
JavaScript
JavaScript
ClojureScript
ClojureScript
Clojure
Clojure

I adopted Clojure and ClojureScript because:

  • it's 1 language, multiple platforms.
  • Simple syntax.
  • Designed to avoid unwanted side effects and bugs.
  • Immutable data-structures.
  • Compact code, very expressive.
  • Source code is data.
  • It has super-flexible macro.
  • Has metadata.
  • Interoperability with JavaScript, Java and C#.
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Gustavo Muñoz
Gustavo Muñoz
Web UI Developer at Globant · | 2 upvotes · 5.3K views
CoffeeScript
CoffeeScript
JavaScript
JavaScript
Flow (JS)
Flow (JS)
React
React
TypeScript
TypeScript
Angular 2
Angular 2
#ECMA
#Angular

Long ago when Angular 2 evolved I had to decide between the new #Angular and TypeScript or React. I really love typing my code, but forced to use TypeScript was a bit too much. I prefer the new #ECMA standard and the evolution of the old and reliable JavaScript. So finding Flow (JS) was an incredible milestone in my career as a developer. Finally, I could use types in my code, and JavaScript with the new standard. I already had the experience of CoffeeScript, so TypeScript was not an option.

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Robert Zuber
Robert Zuber
CTO at CircleCI · | 4 upvotes · 8.7K views
atCircleCICircleCI
Slack
Slack
Go
Go
Hubot
Hubot
CoffeeScript
CoffeeScript

We have added very little to the CoffeeScript Hubot application – just enough to allow it to talk to our Hubot workers. The Hubot workers implement our operational management functionality and expose it to Hubot so we can get chat integration for free. We’ve also tailored the authentication and authorization code of Hubot to meet the needs of roles within our team.

For larger tasks, we’ve got an internal #CLI written in Go that talks to the same #API as Hubot, giving access to the same functionality we have in Slack, with the addition of scripting, piping, and all of our favorite #Unix tools. When the Hubot worker recognizes the CLI is in use, it logs the commands to Slack to maintain visibility of operational changes.

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Flow (JS)
Flow (JS)
JavaScript
JavaScript
CoffeeScript
CoffeeScript
TypeScript
TypeScript

From a StackShare community member: "We are looking to rewrite our outdated front-end with TypeScript. Right now we have a mix of CoffeeScript and vanilla JavaScript. I have read that adopting TypeScript can help enforce better code quality, and best practices. I also heard good things about Flow (JS). Which one would you recommend and why?"

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Interest over time
Reviews of Clojure and CoffeeScript
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How developers use Clojure and CoffeeScript
Avatar of Brandon Adams
Brandon Adams uses ClojureClojure

Cloure is a high level language that provides access to both the JVM (for server-side development) and javascript (for client-side development) with largely the same language. This is important to limit context switching and enable code-reuse during fast product cycles. Clojure is ideal for rapid prototyping and has a strong focus on stability, correctness, and concurrency. Tools like Schema and Spec enable well-structured development and high code confidence.

Avatar of Brian Fults
Brian Fults uses ClojureClojure

To complement Java. The REPL lets me interactively exercise Java code. I can write performant and safe libraries in Java, and then use them in Clojure. I also find the data-centric aspect of Clojure (excellent build-in structures, literal syntax for easily creating those structures, functions that act well on abstractions of those structures) good for data processing.

This fits a sweet spot between Ruby and Java.

Avatar of BandSquare
BandSquare uses ClojureClojure

We use Clojure mostly for its "Minority Report"-like interactive development in situations that require 'semi-automatic programming' (data inspection, admin tasks, API exploration, scrapers, etc.). We have also used Clojure successfully to build some components of our stack very quickly and reliably, in the backend and the frontend.

Avatar of papaver
papaver uses ClojureClojure

just started learning clojure, maybe around two weeks or so. i'm addicted. this is what i want to be working with and learning for the foreseeable future. the elegance of the language is refreshing. the community is really amazing. i've finally found a language that fits my passion for programming.

Avatar of CloudRepo
CloudRepo uses ClojureClojure

Clojure simplifies and reduces the coding efforts involved in creating CloudRepo. The fact that it runs in the JVM gives us access to all the libraries that we could ever need. Our code base is much smaller and easier to reason about than it would have been had we gone with pure Java.

Avatar of Oomba
Oomba uses CoffeeScriptCoffeeScript

All of our Javascript code is first written in CoffeeScript for ease of reading / writing. It is compiled to Javascript before being minified and served to the client.

Avatar of opening.io
opening.io uses CoffeeScriptCoffeeScript

All front-end / back-end is driven by Coffeescript. For the main ReactJS functionality JSX is embedded with coffee in .cjsx files / handled by Browserify.

Avatar of Jeff Flynn
Jeff Flynn uses CoffeeScriptCoffeeScript

We like CoffeeScript because it's more readable, we use it because we have a lot of libraries and functions already (plays nicely with Rails, too)

Avatar of Chris Hartwig
Chris Hartwig uses CoffeeScriptCoffeeScript

All our code is CoffeeScript, blending seemlessly in our JS stack

Avatar of Publitory
Publitory uses CoffeeScriptCoffeeScript

Javascript is a hell. We use coffeescript for its readability.

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