Android, you're next

Clojure gaining strength – Rich Hickey targets Android next

Chris Mayer

The Lisp offshoot for the JVM has been garnering a lot of praise recently, and an interview with its creator reveals their aspiration to tackle the green droid next.

The first quarter of 2012 has certainly been a whirlwind for those behind the JVM language Clojure. They’ve been garnering praise from all corners for its dynamic programming nature, inclusiveness and ultimately being a functional programming alternative for the JVM, something many want.

Appearing with a first stable version in 2007, Clojure has gained rave reviews particularly from startups wanting to get the best capabilities from something similar to Java, succinctly and in as short a time as possible. Whether that’s for a social networking startup or a big data project, Clojure has the flexibility to cope.

From Clojure in the Cloud to Devops, the language has always intended to be as general purpose as possible. But creator Rich Hickey recently in an interview with InfoWorld noted that there was still work to be done to tackle the smartphone market. Hickey acknowledges that whilst Android developers can use Clojure to build apps, the entire process is a bit clunky. But hopefully not for long.

He told Paul Krill:

Targeting Android is a little bit of a challenge at the moment. There are definitely people working on it.

When questioned about why people would chose Clojure for Android, he added:

People who like Clojure will choose it because of the power. Lisps traditionally empowered developers because you can eliminate anything that’s tedious through macros, and that power is really what people keep going back for.

It’s interesting that Clojure are heading in this direction, but hardly surprising if they can reap the benefits from it. Their model is definitely sound for multicore programming and they could beat many to the punch if they can iron out Android issues. 

Hickey has been a busy man recently: first being part of Clojure/West in San Jose, devoted entirely to new Clojure tools and ideas, plus an appearance across the pond at QCon London for a keynote and appearing at London Java Community Night to talk about his latest distributed database project Datomic amongst other things. He also revealed we can expect Clojure 1.4 in the next two months – we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

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