The numbers are in

State of Clojure 2020 reveals Clojure usage shifting to enterprise

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / khunkorn

For the tenth year in a row, the annual State of Clojure report is here. This year, the language saw a slight change in how people use the language. People are using Clojure at work, especially for web development. See what tools Clojure developers are using, what version of Java they are targeting, and where they are spending time socializing with other devs.

Clojure, a general-purpose, dynamic language that targets the Java Virtual Machine, is closely related to Lisp. The annual State of Clojure report celebrates its tenth year with new figures and trends for 2020.

How has Clojure shifted and changed in a decade? Explore the results!

Putting Clojure to work

Apart from use as a hobbyist language, Clojure is finding its niche as a professional language. Respondents were asked about the language’s use and it hit a record percentage high at work, particularly in small teams comprised of one to ten developers.

People are switching from using it for tinkering, studies, and hobbies, and bringing it to work.

SEE ALSO: Does 32-bit or 64-bit JVM matter anymore?


The percentage of users who code with Clojure at work Source.

This year, it saw a slight percentage rise in usage with enterprise apps. However, web development is still the most common domain (followed by open source projects and commercial services.)

Check out the partial list of companies that use Clojure and/or ClojureScript. Some of the notable companies include Amazon, Adobe, Cisco, Facebook, Salesforce, Soundcloud, and Zalando.

An active community

Although Clojure does not have as large of a user base compared to more popular languages like Java, its fans are dedicated and social. A large amount of Clojure programmers interact with other developers, either with the Clojurians Slack channel, Reddit, StackOverflow, Youtube, and even local meetups.

With the growing popularity of Discord groups and Telegram chats, now Clojure devs have another way to help each other out, share their projects, and advocate for the language.

Tools of the trade

Respondents were asked about their versioning and top tools. Here’s what they reported:

  • Top development OS: MacOS is the most used (55%), followed by Linux-based operating systems (35%).
  • Primary dev environments: Emacs (43%) and IntelliJ + Cursive Clojure (32%) are the most commonly used. However, VS Code saw the biggest increase from last year’s results. Yet, it still took only 10% of the vote.
  • Dependency management tools: Leiningen, clj/deps.edn, and shadow-cljs are the top three tools.
  • Targeted Java version: No surprises here; Java 8 is the most commonly targeted version, with Java 11 in second place. (Clojure recommends users to use either Java 8 or 11, since they are both long term support versions. In particular, Java 11 adds new helpful features that Java 8 users should consider checking out and potentially upgrading to.)
  • Clojure version: Version 1.110.1 and 1.10.0 are the most commonly used version in development and production.

Read the full report for more survey insights.

SEE ALSO: What to look for in an OpenJDK Distro

Why use Clojure?

Robert C. Martin (more commonly known as Uncle Bob, author of The Clean Code Blog) recommended Clojure because compared to dozens of different programming languages, it was the easiest to learn and write with.

In 2019, Martin wrote:

It is just simpler, and easier, and less occluding to write expressive code in Clojure. It requires fewer lines. It requires fewer characters. It requires fewer hours. It requires fewer mental gymnastics. Why should this be so? The answer is very simple. Indeed the answer is: Very simple. The language has almost no syntax or grammar.

Let’s wait and see how the language will grow in the next ten years.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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