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Common Lisp

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Clojure vs Common Lisp: What are the differences?

Developers describe Clojure as "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. On the other hand, Common Lisp is detailed as "The modern, multi-paradigm, high-performance, compiled, ANSI-standardized descendant of the long-running family of Lisp programming languages". 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].

Clojure and Common Lisp can be categorized as "Languages" tools.

"It is a lisp" is the primary reason why developers consider Clojure over the competitors, whereas "Flexibility" was stated as the key factor in picking Common Lisp.

Clojure is an open source tool with 7.85K GitHub stars and 1.25K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Clojure's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, Clojure has a broader approval, being mentioned in 95 company stacks & 80 developers stacks; compared to Common Lisp, which is listed in 5 company stacks and 3 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

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 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]

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What are some alternatives to Clojure and Common Lisp?
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
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.
Erlang
Some of Erlang's uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang's runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. OTP is set of Erlang libraries and design principles providing middle-ware to develop these systems.
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Decisions about Clojure and Common Lisp
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How developers use Clojure and Common Lisp
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.

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