When Clojure Is Not Flashy

Over the past two weeks as I have prepared for a nice long rest, I wound up mostly cleaning up BASH scripts and their Informix 4GL counterpart programs. The changes were made to simplify sending data to and receiving results back from our Registry of Motor Vehicles. While not as interesting or as flashy as working with Clojure, the changes were well needed, because they involved ease of use, reliability, and simplification. To me, it is just fine to have a good cleanup effort, even if it is for an over twenty-five year old application.

Finally, I was able to spend a little time finishing up enhancements to a Clojure program that splits up real-estate assessment data, and this got me thinking.

Working with Clojure is not a good thing just because it is a Lisp dialect and programming in Lisp has always been one of my goals.

Working with Clojure is not a good thing, because it is a functional programming language or even because it is a JVM language. As it turns out the only serious Java I encountered was a Visual Cafe application that was the Vinca/Legato/EMC Co-Standby For Windows configuration application.

Working with Clojure is not a good thing, because it is an up and coming language, though I admit that is part of what drew me to learn it.

And working with Clojure is not a good thing, because using the languages encourages writing small discernible functions,  C and shell scripts on Unix encouraged writing small, well written C programs years ago.

Working with Clojure is a not good thing specifically for any of those reasons , but is a great thing, because it is possible to make a change in one area and not break something due to an accidental side-effect that could more easily occur in a language that supports mutable data structures.

This reason is not glamorous or flashy, but sometimes not having things blow up and go to pieces is better than temporary flash and glitz.

Instead Clojure can be a great tool for a one-person band, because it isn’t flashy and its constructs allow for reliability, when there is not a lot of time to ensure safety or reliability.


Programming Languages Used and Using

These are the computer programming languages I have used over the past few years.

1985 – 1987

PL/I Subset G

1987 – 1990

C, Bliss, Assember (DEC VAX)

1990 – 2000

C, C++

2000 – 2002

VBScript/VBA

2002-2003

Java, C, C++, Perl

2004 – current

Informix 4GL, C, VB, Perl, Python, JavaScript, Clojure