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Rapid uptake of Clojure 1.9, slow adoption rates for Java 9 in the Clojure community

Jane Elizabeth
© Shutterstock / Unuchko Veronika

Clojure’s annual community survey results are in: what does the community think about Clojure 1.9? Turns out, they like it a whole lot better than Java 9. We take a closer look at the results to see what’s going on in this functional programming language.

Results from the mostly-annual Clojure community survey have just arrived, illustrating the wide range of experiences for everyone in the Clojure-verse. Ever since 2010, Clojure has polled its users to see how things are going.

This year’s survey reached a whopping 2325 respondents, about the same as last year’s. Questions this year focused on system updates, how respondents used Clojure, and what kinds of industries they belonged to. They were also asked questions like their favorite aspect of Clojure as well as how long they’ve been using it.

Now, let’s dive right in and see what we can see about this popular dynamic programming language!

Fast adoption rates for Clojure 1.9, not so much for Java

Clojure 1.9 arrived in December of last year and a shift in usage was expected. However, it’s impressive how many developers have made the switch in less than four months. 72% of respondents are already developing in Clojure 1.9, with an additional 60% using it concurrently with Clojure 1.8. Few developers are behind on the update cycle – less than 7% of users are on version 1.7 or older.


That’s some rapid uptake!

Compare that data with the Clojure community’s adoption of Java 9. The JDK update arrived in September of last year. Based on the rapid uptake for Clojure, you’d think the developers would have leaped at the chance to try the newest version. And you’d be wrong.

When asked what versions of the JDK do they target, developers overwhelmingly responded JDK 8. While respondents could choose multiple options, only 29% of developers said they targeted the latest version of Java. 88% replied they were working on JDK 8-related projects, a veritable landslide.


Clojure developers appear to be adopting Java 9 at a much slower rate.

SEE MORE: Clojure and Scala are less bug-prone, Python induces more defects, study shows

Who, what, when, where, and why

Unsurprisingly, the survey does cover a lot of the basics to see how the community at large is growing and developing. The vast majority of developers utilize Clojure (96%), with ClojureScript coming in second (66%) and ClojureCLR at a very distant third (2%).

Clojure is good for your career as well: 67% of developers responded that they use it at work. 53% use the programming language for “serious” hobby projects, with an additional 25% just playing around for fun.

We can clearly see what these developers are working on. The trend has improved for Clojure at work: the first survey in 2010 showed most people weren’t using in the workplace. Now, a full 82% of Clojure devs are involved in web development. Other popular projects include open source, building and delivering commercial services, enterprise apps, math and data analysis, big data, and even machine learning.


We can also see what industries everyone is in. The usual suspects are represented, from enterprise software (18%) to financial services (15%), consumer software (11%), retail (9%), and media and advertising (6%). I’m going to make a special shout out to the 20 respondents who are using Clojure for the agriculture industry. Shine on, you wacky diamonds. You do you.

Another interesting data point was the question about previous programming language. It’s always important to know where you’re poaching new users from, if only to help make acclimating to the new language easier.

Responses for this question have been generally quite stable over time, but there was a big upswing for JavaScript this year, jumping past Python and Ruby.


What language do you come from?

Maybe it’s all due to ClojureScript’s close similarity to React? In any case, everyone is welcome at the Clojure table.

SEE MORE: Clojure’s most important lessons

Where to go from here

Hiring seems to be at a high right now, and companies are looking to fill empty Clojure developer positions. However, while it does seem that there are some developers having problems getting a job, this appears to be more of a geographic/skillset mismatch than anything else.

Additionally, Clojure documentation has grown so much that it’s almost a problem for people to find the right resource for their experience level and need. As problems go, this is a good one to have. The community has been very active in discussing how to solve this issue.

If you’re interested in the full results, you can view them here. The results from previous years are also available online here. And, of course, if you’d like to try out Clojure you should head on over to their website or GitHub page.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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