Clojure vs Common Lisp vs Haskell

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Clojure

1.3K
1.1K
+ 1
1.1K
Common Lisp

144
184
+ 1
116
Haskell

955
977
+ 1
489
Decisions about Clojure, Common Lisp, and Haskell

We’re a new startup so we need to be able to deliver quick changes as we find our product market fit. We’ve also got to ensure that we’re moving money safely, and keeping perfect records. The technologies we’ve chosen mix mature but well maintained frameworks like Django, with modern web-first and api-first front ends like GraphQL, NextJS, and Chakra. We use a little Golang sparingly in our backend to ensure that when we interact with financial services, we do so with statically compiled, strongly typed, and strictly limited and reviewed code.

You can read all about it in our linked blog post.

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Timm Stelzer
Software Engineer at Flexperto GmbH · | 18 upvotes · 197.8K views

We have a lot of experience in JavaScript, writing our services in NodeJS allows developers to transition to the back end without any friction, without having to learn a new language. There is also the option to write services in TypeScript, which adds an expressive type layer. The semi-shared ecosystem between front and back end is nice as well, though specifically NodeJS libraries sometimes suffer in quality, compared to other major languages.

As for why we didn't pick the other languages, most of it comes down to "personal preference" and historically grown code bases, but let's do some post-hoc deduction:

Go is a practical choice, reasonably easy to learn, but until we find performance issues with our NodeJS stack, there is simply no reason to switch. The benefits of using NodeJS so far outweigh those of picking Go. This might change in the future.

PHP is a language we're still using in big parts of our system, and are still sometimes writing new code in. Modern PHP has fixed some of its issues, and probably has the fastest development cycle time, but it suffers around modelling complex asynchronous tasks, and (on a personal note) lack of support for writing in a functional style.

We don't use Python, Elixir or Ruby, mostly because of personal preference and for historic reasons.

Rust, though I personally love and use it in my projects, would require us to specifically hire for that, as the learning curve is quite steep. Its web ecosystem is OK by now (see https://www.arewewebyet.org/), but in my opinion, it is still no where near that of the other web languages. In other words, we are not willing to pay the price for playing this innovation card.

Haskell, as with Rust, I personally adore, but is simply too esoteric for us. There are problem domains where it shines, ours is not one of them.

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Pros of Clojure
Pros of Common Lisp
Pros of Haskell
  • 116
    It is a lisp
  • 99
    Persistent data structures
  • 98
    Concise syntax
  • 88
    jvm-based language
  • 87
    Concurrency
  • 80
    Interactive repl
  • 75
    Code is data
  • 61
    Open source
  • 58
    Lazy data structures
  • 54
    Macros
  • 47
    Functional
  • 22
    Simplistic
  • 21
    Immutable by default
  • 19
    Excellent collections
  • 18
    Fast-growing community
  • 14
    Multiple host languages
  • 14
    Simple (not easy!)
  • 13
    Practical Lisp
  • 9
    Because it's really fun to use
  • 9
    Addictive
  • 9
    Community
  • 8
    It creates Reusable code
  • 8
    Web friendly
  • 8
    Rapid development
  • 7
    Minimalist
  • 5
    Java interop
  • 5
    Programmable programming language
  • 4
    Regained interest in programming
  • 3
    Compiles to JavaScript
  • 3
    EDN
  • 2
    Share a lot of code with clojurescript/use on frontend
  • 23
    Flexibility
  • 18
    High-performance
  • 16
    Comfortable: garbage collection, closures, macros, REPL
  • 12
    Stable
  • 12
    Lisp
  • 6
    Can integrate with C (via CFFI)
  • 6
    Code is data
  • 5
    Multi paradigm
  • 4
    Easy Setup
  • 4
    Lisp is fun
  • 3
    Macros
  • 2
    Elegant
  • 2
    Open source
  • 2
    Purelly functional
  • 1
    Parentheses
  • 84
    Purely-functional programming
  • 64
    Statically typed
  • 57
    Type-safe
  • 38
    Open source
  • 38
    Great community
  • 29
    Composable
  • 29
    Built-in concurrency
  • 28
    Built-in parallelism
  • 22
    Referentially transparent
  • 18
    Generics
  • 13
    Intellectual satisfaction
  • 13
    Type inference
  • 11
    If it compiles, it's correct
  • 7
    Monads
  • 7
    Flexible
  • 4
    Great type system
  • 4
    Proposition testing with QuickCheck
  • 3
    One of the most powerful languages *(see blub paradox)*
  • 2
    Highly expressive, type-safe, fast development time
  • 2
    Purely-functional Programming
  • 2
    Pattern matching and completeness checking
  • 2
    Better type-safe than sorry
  • 2
    Type classes
  • 2
    Reliable
  • 2
    Best in class thinking tool
  • 2
    Great maintainability of the code
  • 2
    Fun
  • 2
    Kind system
  • 0
    Orthogonality
  • 0
    Predictable

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Cons of Clojure
Cons of Common Lisp
Cons of Haskell
  • 9
    Cryptic stacktraces
  • 4
    Need to wrap basically every java lib
  • 3
    LISP!!!!!!!!
  • 3
    Good code heavily relies on local conventions
  • 3
    Toxic community
  • 2
    Slow application startup
  • 2
    Tonns of abandonware
  • 1
    Usable only with REPL
  • 1
    Hiring issues
  • 1
    Bad documented libs
  • 1
    Macros are overused by devs
  • 1
    Tricky profiling
  • 1
    IDE with high learning curve
  • 1
    Configuration bolierplate
  • 1
    Conservative community
  • 0
    Have no good and fast fmt
  • 4
    Too many Parentheses
  • 1
    No hygienic macros
  • 1
    Standard did not evolve since 1994
  • 1
    Small library ecosystem
  • 6
    Error messages can be very confusing
  • 6
    Too much distraction in language extensions
  • 4
    Libraries have poor documentation
  • 3
    No best practices
  • 3
    No good ABI
  • 2
    Poor packaging for apps written in it for Linux distros
  • 2
    Sometimes performance is unpredictable
  • 1
    Slow compilation

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- 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]

What is Haskell?

It is a general purpose language that can be used in any domain and use case, it is ideally suited for proprietary business logic and data analysis, fast prototyping and enhancing existing software environments with correct code, performance and scalability.

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What are some alternatives to Clojure, Common Lisp, and Haskell?
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.
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.
Go
Go is expressive, concise, clean, and efficient. Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel type system enables flexible and modular program construction. Go compiles quickly to machine code yet has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection. It's a fast, statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamically typed, interpreted language.
See all alternatives