Need help with clojure-style-guide?
Click the “chat” button below for chat support from the developer who created it, or find similar developers for support.

About the developer

bbatsov
3.7K Stars 268 Forks 371 Commits 35 Opened issues

Description

A community coding style guide for the Clojure programming language

Services available

!
?

Need anything else?

Contributors list

= The Clojure Style Guide :idprefix: :idseparator: - :sectanchors: :sectlinks: :toclevels: 1 ifndef::backend-pdf[] :toc-title: pass:[

Table of Contents

] endif::[] :source-highlighter: rouge

== Introduction

[quote, Officer Alex J. Murphy / RoboCop]


Role models are important.


ifdef::env-github[] TIP: You can find a beautiful version of this guide with much improved navigation at https://guide.clojure.style. endif::[]

This Clojure style guide recommends best practices so that real-world Clojure programmers can write code that can be maintained by other real-world Clojure programmers. A style guide that reflects real-world usage gets used, and a style guide that holds to an ideal that has been rejected by the people it is supposed to help risks not getting used at all -- no matter how good it is.

The guide is separated into several sections of related rules. I've tried to add the rationale behind the rules (if it's omitted, I've assumed that it's pretty obvious).

I didn't come up with all the rules out of nowhere; they are mostly based on my extensive career as a software engineer, my work on many Clojure open-source projectsfootnote:[CIDER, nREPL, Orchard, etc.], feedback and suggestions from numerous members of the Clojure community, and various highly regarded Clojure programming resources, such as https://www.clojurebook.com/["Clojure Programming"] and https://joyofclojure.com/["The Joy of Clojure"].

Nothing written here is set in stone. This style guide evolves over time as additional conventions are identified and past conventions are rendered obsolete by changes in Clojure itself.

NOTE: Clojure's developers also maintain a list of https://clojure.org/community/contribhowto#coding_guidelines[coding guidelines for libraries].footnote:[Those guidelines are meant to be applied to Clojure itself and to all the Clojure Contrib libraries.] They were one of the sources of inspiration for the document, you're currently reading.

ifdef::env-github[] You can generate a PDF copy of this guide using https://asciidoctor.org/docs/asciidoctor-pdf/[AsciiDoctor PDF], and an HTML copy https://asciidoctor.org/docs/convert-documents/#converting-a-document-to-html[with] https://asciidoctor.org/#installation[AsciiDoctor] using the following commands:

[source,shell]

Generates README.pdf

asciidoctor-pdf -a allow-uri-read README.adoc

Generates README.html

asciidoctor

[TIP]

Install the

rouge
gem to get nice syntax highlighting in the generated document.

[source,shell]

gem install rouge

==== endif::[]

=== Guiding Principles

[quote, Harold Abelson, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs]


Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.


It's common knowledge that code is read much more often than it is written. The guidelines provided here are intended to improve the readability of code and make it consistent across the wide spectrum of Clojure code. They are also meant to reflect real-world usage of Clojure instead of a random ideal. When I had to choose between a very established practice and a subjectively better alternative I've opted to recommend the established practice.footnote:[Occasionally I might suggest to the reader to consider some alternatives, though.]

There are some areas in which there is no clear consensus in the Clojure community regarding a particular style (like semantic indentation vs fixed indentation, semantic comments vs uniform comments, etc). In such scenarios all popular styles are acknowledged and it's up to you to pick one and apply it consistently.

Fortunately Clojure is a Lisp, and Lisps are fundamentally simple. Even though this guide was created a few years after Clojure (I published the first version in early 2013), you could see that most Clojure code in the wild was fairly uniform. I attribute this to both the simplicity I already mentioned and to the fact that since day 1 Clojurists adopted many of the style conventions of other established Lisp dialects (e.g. Common Lisp and Scheme). This made the work on this guide fairly easy and straight-forward, especially compared to the massive exercise in frustration that was the https://rubystyle.guide[Community Ruby Style Guide].footnote:[You'll notice that the Clojure style guide is pretty similar in structure to the Ruby style guide, which served as its main source of inspiration. You'll also notice that the Ruby style guide is much longer, mostly because of the complexity of the Ruby language.]

Clojure is famously optimized for simplicity and clarity. I'd like to believe that this guide is going to help you optimize for maximum simplicity and clarity.

=== A Note About Consistency

[quote, Ralph Waldo Emerson]


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.


A style guide is about consistency.footnote:[This section is heavily inspired by Python's PEP-8] Consistency with this style guide is important. Consistency within a project is more important. Consistency within one class or method is the most important.

However, know when to be inconsistent -- sometimes style guide recommendations just aren't applicable. When in doubt, use your best judgment. Look at other examples and decide what looks best. And don't hesitate to ask!

In particular: do not break backwards compatibility just to comply with this guide!

Some other good reasons to ignore a particular guideline:

  • When applying the guideline would make the code less readable, even for someone who is used to reading code that follows this style guide.
  • To be consistent with surrounding code that also breaks it (maybe for historic reasons) -- although this is also an opportunity to clean up someone else's mess (in true XP style).
  • Because the code in question predates the introduction of the guideline and there is no other reason to be modifying that code.
  • When the code needs to remain compatible with older versions of Clojure that don't support the feature recommended by the style guide.

=== Translations

Translations of the guide are available in the following languages:

  • https://github.com/geekerzp/clojure-style-guide/blob/master/README-zhCN.md[Chinese]
  • https://github.com/totakke/clojure-style-guide/blob/ja/README.adoc[Japanese]
  • https://github.com/kwakbab/clojure-style-guide/blob/master/README-koKO.md[Korean]
  • https://github.com/theSkilled/clojure-style-guide/blob/pt-BR/README.mdPortuguese
  • https://github.com/Nondv/clojure-style-guide/blob/master/ru/README.md[Russian]
  • https://github.com/jeko2000/clojure-style-guide/blob/master/README.md[Spanish]
  • https://github.com/LeaveNhA/clojure-style-guide/blob/master/README.adoc[Turkish]

NOTE: These translations are not maintained by our editor team, so their quality and level of completeness may vary. The translated versions of the guide often lag behind the upstream English version.

== Source Code Layout & Organization

[quote, Jerry Coffin (on indentation)]


Nearly everybody is convinced that every style but their own is ugly and unreadable. Leave out the "but their own" and they're probably right...


[#80-character-limits] === Maximum Line Length [[line-length]]

Where feasible, avoid making lines longer than 80 characters.

.Why Bother with 80 characters in a World of Modern Widescreen Displays?


A lot of people these days feel that a maximum line length of 80 characters is just a remnant of the past and makes little sense today. After all - modern displays can easily fit 200+ characters on a single line. Still, there are some important benefits to be gained from sticking to shorter lines of code.

First, and foremost - numerous studies have shown that humans read much faster vertically and very long lines of text impede the reading process. As noted earlier, one of the guiding principles of this style guide is to optimize the code we write for human consumption.

Additionally, limiting the required editor window width makes it possible to have several files open side-by-side, and works well when using code review tools that present the two versions in adjacent columns.

The default wrapping in most tools disrupts the visual structure of the code, making it more difficult to understand. The limits are chosen to avoid wrapping in editors with the window width set to 80, even if the tool places a marker glyph in the final column when wrapping lines. Some web based tools may not offer dynamic line wrapping at all.

Some teams strongly prefer a longer line length. For code maintained exclusively or primarily by a team that can reach agreement on this issue, it is okay to increase the line length limit up to 100 characters, or all the way up to 120 characters. Please, restrain the urge to go beyond 120 characters.


=== Tabs vs Spaces [[spaces]]

Use spaces for indentation. No hard tabs.

=== Body Indentation [[body-indentation]]

Use 2 spaces to indent the bodies of forms that have body parameters. This covers all

def
forms, special forms and macros that introduce local bindings (e.g.
loop
,
let
,
when-let
) and many macros like
when
,
cond
,
+as->+
,
+cond->+
,
case
,
with-*
, etc.

[source,clojure]

;; good (when something (something-else))

(with-out-str (println "Hello, ") (println "world!"))

;; bad - four spaces (when something (something-else))

;; bad - one space (with-out-str (println "Hello, ")

(println "world!"))

=== Function Arguments Alignment [[vertically-align-fn-args]]

Vertically align function (macro) arguments spanning multiple lines.

[source,clojure]

;; good (filter even? (range 1 10))

;; bad (filter even?

(range 1 10))

The reasoning behind this guideline is pretty simple - the arguments are easier to process by the human brain if they stand out and stick together.

=== Function Arguments Indentation [[one-space-indent]]

NOTE: Generally, you should stick to the formatting outlined in the previous guideline, unless you're limited by the available horizontal space.

Use a single space indentation for function (macro) arguments when there are no arguments on the same line as the function name.

[source,clojure]

;; good (filter even? (range 1 10))

(or ala bala portokala)

;; bad - two-space indent (filter even? (range 1 10))

(or ala bala

portokala)

This may appear like some weird special rule to people without Lisp background, but the reasoning behind it is quite simple. Function calls are nothing but regular list literals and normally those are aligned in the same way as other collection type literals when spanning multiple lines:

[source,clojure]

;; list literal (1 2 3)

;; vector literal [1 2 3]

;; set literal

{1

2

3}

Admittedly, list literals are not very common in Clojure, that's why it's understandable that for many people lists are nothing but an invocation syntax.

As a side benefit, function arguments are still aligned in this scenario as well. They just happen to accidentally be aligned with the function name as well.

.Semantic Indentation vs Fixed Indentation


The guidelines to indent differently macros with body forms from all other macro and function calls are collectively known as "semantic indentation". Simply put, this means that the code is indented differently, so that the indentation would give the reader of the code some hints about its meaning.

The downside of this approach is that requires Clojure code formatters to be smarter. They either need to process

macro
arglists and rely on the fact that people named their parameters consistently, or process some additional indentation metadata.

Some people in the Clojure community have argued that's not worth it and that everything should simply be indented in the same fashion. Here are a few examples:

[source,clojure]

;;; Fixed Indentation ;; ;; macros (when something (something-else))

(with-out-str (println "Hello, ") (println "world!"))

;; function call spanning two lines (filter even? (range 1 10))

;; function call spanning three lines (filter even?

(range 1 10))

This suggestion has certainly gotten some ground in the community, but it also goes against the entire Lisp tradition and the primary goal of this style guide - namely to optimize code for human consumption.

There's also one small caveat with fixed indentation that's rarely discussed and that's how to indent list literals, as function calls are simply list literals. As those are not very common in Clojure, outside the context of providing structure for the Clojure code itself, that matter is usually omitted from consideration:

[source,clojure]

;;; Fixed Indentation ;; ;; list literals (1 2 3 4 5 6)

(1 2 3 4 5

6)

That looks a bit weird and happens to be inconsistent with how other collection types are normally indented.


=== Bindings Alignment [[bindings-alignment]]

Vertically align

let
(and
let
-like) bindings.

[source,clojure]

;; good (let thing1 "some stuff" thing2 "other stuff")

;; bad (let [thing1 "some stuff" thing2 "other stuff"]

(foo thing1 thing2))

=== Map Keys Alignment [[map-keys-alignment]]

Align vertically map keys.

[source,clojure]

;; good {:thing1 thing1 :thing2 thing2}

;; bad {:thing1 thing1 :thing2 thing2}

;; bad {:thing1 thing1

:thing2 thing2}

=== Line Endings [[crlf]]

Use Unix-style line endings.footnote:[*BSD/Solaris/Linux/macOS users are covered by default, Windows users have to be extra careful.]

[TIP]

If you're using Git you might want to add the following configuration setting to protect your project from Windows line endings creeping in:

[source,shell]

$ git config --global core.autocrlf true

====

=== Terminate Files With a Newline [[terminate-files-with-a-newline]]

End each file with a newline.

TIP: This should be done by through editor configuration, not manually.

=== Bracket Spacing [[bracket-spacing]]

If any text precedes an opening bracket(

(
,
{
and
[
) or follows a closing bracket(
)
,
}
and
]
), separate that text from that bracket with a space. Conversely, leave no space after an opening bracket and before following text, or after preceding text and before a closing bracket.

[source,clojure]

;; good (foo (bar baz) quux)

;; bad (foo(bar baz)quux)

(foo ( bar baz ) quux)

=== No Commas in Sequential Collection Literals [[no-commas-for-seq-literals]]

[quote, Alan Perlis]


Syntactic sugar causes semicolon cancer.


Don't use commas between the elements of sequential collection literals.

[source,clojure]

;; good 1 2 3

;; bad [1, 2, 3]

(1, 2, 3)

=== Optional Commas in Map Literals [[opt-commas-in-map-literals]]

Consider enhancing the readability of map literals via judicious use of commas and line breaks.

[source,clojure]

;; good {:name "Bruce Wayne" :alter-ego "Batman"}

;; good and arguably a bit more readable {:name "Bruce Wayne" :alter-ego "Batman"}

;; good and arguably more compact

{:name "Bruce Wayne", :alter-ego "Batman"}

=== Gather Trailing Parentheses [[gather-trailing-parens]]

Place all trailing parentheses on a single line instead of distinct lines.

[source,clojure]

;; good; single line (when something (something-else))

;; bad; distinct lines (when something (something-else)

)

=== Empty Lines Between Top-Level Forms [[empty-lines-between-top-level-forms]]

Use a single empty line between top-level forms.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def x ...)

(defn foo ...)

;; bad (def x ...) (defn foo ...)

;; bad (def x ...)

(defn foo ...)

An exception to the rule is the grouping of related

def
s together.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def min-rows 10) (def max-rows 20) (def min-cols 15)

(def max-cols 30)

=== No Blank Lines Within Definition Forms [[no-blank-lines-within-def-forms]]

Do not place blank lines in the middle of a function or macro definition. An exception can be made to indicate grouping of pairwise constructs as found in e.g.

let
and
cond
, in case those don't fit on the same line.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn fibo-iter (n) (curr nxt n))

;; okay - the line break delimits a cond pair (defn fibo-iter (n) ([curr nxt n] (cond (zero? n) curr

 :else
 (recur nxt (+' curr nxt) (dec n)))))

;; bad (defn fibo-iter (n)

([curr nxt n] (cond (zero? n) curr

 :else (recur nxt (+' curr nxt) (dec n)))))

Occasionally, it might seem like a good idea to add a blank line here and there in a longer function definition, but if you get to this point you should also consider whether this long function isn't doing too much and could potentially be broken down.

=== No Trailing Whitespace [[no-trailing-whitespace]]

Avoid trailing whitespace.

=== One File per Namespace [[one-file-per-namespace]]

Use one file per namespace and one namespace per file.


;; good (ns foo.bar)

;; bad (ns foo.bar) (ns baz.qux)

;; bad (in-ns quux.quuz) (in-ns quuz.corge)

;; bad

(ns foo.bar) or (in-ns foo.bar) in multiple files

== Namespace Declaration

=== No Single Segment Namespaces [[no-single-segment-namespaces]]

Avoid single-segment namespaces.

[source,clojure]

;; good (ns example.ns)

;; bad

(ns example)

Namespaces exist to disambiguate names. Using a single segment namespace puts you in direct conflict with everyone else using single segment namespaces, thus making it more likely you will conflict with another code base.

In practice this means that libraries should never use single-segment namespace to avoid namespace conflicts with other libraries. Within your own private app of course, you can do whatever you like.

TIP: It's common practice to use the convention

domain.library-name
or
library-name.core
for libraries with a single namespace in them. Read on for more coverage of the namespace naming topic.

There are https://github.com/bbatsov/clojure-style-guide/pull/100[other reasons] why might want to avoid single-segment namespaces, so you should think long and hard before making any use of them.

=== Namespace Segments Limit [[namespace-segments-limit]]

Avoid the use of overly long namespaces (i.e., more than 5 segments).

=== Comprehensive

ns
Form [[comprehensive-ns-declaration]]

Start every namespace with a comprehensive

ns
form, comprised of
refer
s,
require
s, and
import
s, conventionally in that order.

[source,clojure]

(ns examples.ns (:refer-clojure :exclude [next replace remove]) (:require [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]])

(:import java.util.Date))

=== Line Breaks in

ns
[[line-break-ns-declaration]]

When there are multiple dependencies, you may want give each one its own line. This facilitates sorting, readability, and cleaner diffs for dependency changes.

[source,clojure]

;; better (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]] [clojure.set :as set] [clojure.java.shell :as sh]) (:import java.util.Date java.text.SimpleDateFormat [java.util.concurrent Executors LinkedBlockingQueue]))

;; good (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]] [clojure.set :as set] [clojure.java.shell :as sh]) (:import java.util.Date java.text.SimpleDateFormat [java.util.concurrent Executors LinkedBlockingQueue]))

;; bad (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]] [clojure.set :as set] [clojure.java.shell :as sh])

(:import java.util.Date java.text.SimpleDateFormat [java.util.concurrent Executors LinkedBlockingQueue]))

=== Prefer

:require
Over
:use
[[prefer-require-over-use]]

In the

ns
form prefer
:require :as
over
:require :refer
over
:require
:refer :all
. Prefer
:require
over
:use
; the latter form should be considered deprecated for new code.

[source,clojure]

;; good (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.zip :as zip]))

;; good (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.zip :refer [lefts rights]]))

;; acceptable as warranted (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.zip :refer :all]))

;; bad (ns examples.ns

(:use clojure.zip))

=== Sort Requirements and Imports [[sort-requirements-and-imports]]

In the

ns
form, sort your requirements and imports. This facilitates readability and avoids duplication, especially when the list of required / imported namespaces is very long.

[source,clojure]

;; good (ns examples.ns (:require [baz.core :as baz] [clojure.java.shell :as sh] [clojure.set :as set] [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]] [foo.bar :as foo]))

;; bad (ns examples.ns (:require [clojure.string :as s :refer [blank?]] [clojure.set :as set] [baz.core :as baz] [foo.bar :as foo]

[clojure.java.shell :as sh]))

=== Use Idiomatic Namespace Aliases

Many core Clojure namespaces have idiomatic aliases that you're encouraged to use within your projects - e.g. the most common way to require

clojure.string
is:
[clojure.string :as str]
.

NOTE: This may appear to mask

clojure.core.str
, but it doesn't. It's expected that
clojure.core/str
and
clojure.string/*
to be used in a namespace as
str
and
str/whatever
without conflict.

[source,clojure]

;; good (ns ... (:require [clojure.string :as str] ...)

(str/join ...)

;; not as good - just be idiomatic and use as

str/
(ns ... (:require [clojure.string :as string] ...)

(string/join ...)

Bellow are some common idiomatic aliases:

|=== | Namespace | Idiomatic Alias | clojure.java.io | io | clojure.set | set | clojure.string | str | clojure.walk | walk | clojure.zip | zip | clojure.data.xml | xml | clojure.core.async | as | clojure.core.matrix | mat | clojure.edn | edn | clojure.pprint | pp | clojure.spec.alpha | spec | clojure.data.csv | csv | cheshire.core | json | java-time | time | clj-http.client | http | clojure.tools.logging | log | hugsql.core | sql | clj-yaml.core | yaml | clojure.java.shell | sh |===

=== A Recipe for Good Namespace Aliases

Above we covered a handful of popular namespaces and their idiomatic aliases. You might have noticed that those are a bit inconsistent:

  • clojure.string
    becomes
    str
  • clojure.pprint
    becomes
    pp
  • clojure.walk
    becomes
    walk
  • clojure.spec.alpha
    becomes
    spec

I guess it's clear that the one thing they have in common is that they aim to be concise, but still carry some meaning (aliasing

clojure.walk
to
w
would be concise, but won't carry much meaning).

But what to do about all the other namespaces out there that don't have idiomatic aliases? Well, you better be consistent in your approach to deriving aliases for them, otherwise the people working on a shared Clojure codebase are going to experience a great deal of confusion. Here are a few rules that you should follow.footnote:[These guidelines are based on a https://stuartsierra.com/2015/05/10/clojure-namespace-aliases[blog post] by Stuart Sierra.]

  1. Make the alias the same as the namespace name with the leading parts removed.

[source,clojure]

(ns com.example.application (:require [clojure.java.io :as io]

[clojure.string :as string]))

  1. Keep enough trailing parts to make each alias unique.

[source,clojure]

[clojure.data.xml :as data.xml]

[clojure.xml :as xml]

TIP: Yes, namespace aliases can have dots in them. Make good use of them.

  1. Eliminate redundant words such as "core" and "clj" in aliases.

[source,clojure]

[clj-http :as http] [clj-time.core :as time]

[clj-time.format :as time.format]

=== Use Consistent Namespace Aliases

Across a project, it's good to be consistent with namespace aliases; e.g., don't require

clojure.string
as
str
in one namespace but
string
in another. If you follow the previous two guidelines you're basically covered, but if you opt for custom namespace aliasing scheme it's still important to apply it consistently within your projects.

== Naming

[quote, Phil Karlton]


The only real difficulties in programming are cache invalidation and naming things.


=== Namespace Naming Schemas [[naming-ns-naming-schemas]]

When naming namespaces favor the following two schemas:

  • project.module
  • organization.project.module

When you're following the

project.module
naming scheme and your project has a single (implementation) namespace it's common to name it
project.core
. Avoid the
project.core
name in all other cases, as more informative names are always a better idea.

=== Composite Word Namespace Segments [[naming-namespace-composite-segments]]

Use

lisp-case
in composite namespace segments (e.g.
bruce.project-euler
).

NOTE: Many non-Lisp programming communities refer to

lisp-case
as
kebab-case
, but we all know that Lisp has existed way before kebab was invented.

=== Functions and Variables [[naming-functions-and-variables]]

Use

lisp-case
for function and variable names.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def some-var ...) (defn some-fun ...)

;; bad (def someVar ...) (defn somefun ...)

(def some_fun ...)

=== Protocols, Records, Structs and Types [[naming-protocols-records-structs-and-types]]

Use

CapitalCase
for protocols, records, structs, and types. (Keep acronyms like HTTP, RFC, XML uppercase.)

NOTE:

CapitalCase
is also known as
UpperCamelCase,
CapitalWords
and
PascalCase`.

=== Predicate Methods [[naming-predicates]]

The names of predicate methods (methods that return a boolean value) should end in a question mark (e.g.,

even?
).

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn palindrome? ...)

;; bad (defn palindrome-p ...) ; Common Lisp style

(defn is-palindrome ...) ; Java style

=== Unsafe Functions [[naming-unsafe-functions]]

The names of functions/macros that are not safe in STM transactions should end with an exclamation mark (e.g.

reset!
).

=== Conversion Functions [[naming-conversion-functions]]

Use

+->+
instead of
to
in the names of conversion functions.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn f->c ...)

;; not so good

(defn f-to-c ...)

=== Dynamic Vars [[naming-dynamic-vars]]

Use

*earmuffs*
for things intended for rebinding (ie. are dynamic).

[source,clojure]

;; good (def ^:dynamic a 10)

;; bad

(def ^:dynamic a 10)

=== Constants [[naming-constants]]

Don't use a special notation for constants; everything is assumed a constant unless specified otherwise.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def max-size 10)

;; bad (def MAX-SIZE 10) ; Java style (def +max-size+ 10) ; Common Lisp style, global constant

(def max-size 10) ; Common Lisp style, global variable

NOTE: Famously

\*clojure-version*
defies this convention, but you should treat this naming choice is a historical oddity and not as an example to follow.

=== Unused Bindings [[naming-unused-bindings]]

Use

+_+
for destructuring targets and formal argument names whose value will be ignored by the code at hand.

[source,clojure]

;; good (let [a b _ c] [1 2 3 4])

(dotimes _ 3)

;; bad (let [a b c d] [1 2 3 4])

(dotimes [i 3]

(println "Hello!"))

However, when it can help the understanding of your code, it can be useful to explicitly name unused arguments or maps you're destructuring from. In this case, prepend the name with an underscore to explicitly signal that the variable is supposed to be unused.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn myfun1 context _)

(defn myfun2 context {:keys [id]})

;; better (defn myfun1 context _user)

(defn myfun2 [context {:keys [id] :as _user}]

(assoc context :user-id id))

=== Idiomatic Names [[idiomatic-names]]

Follow

clojure.core
's example for idiomatic names like
pred
and
coll
.
  • in functions: **
    f
    ,
    g
    ,
    h
    - function input **
    n
    - integer input usually a size **
    index
    ,
    i
    - integer index **
    x
    ,
    y
    - numbers **
    xs
    - sequence **
    m
    - map **
    s
    - string input **
    re
    - regular expression **
    sym
    - symbol **
    coll
    - a collection **
    pred
    - a predicate closure **
    & more
    - variadic input **
    xf
    - xform, a transducer **
    ns
    - namespacefootnote:[Technically this will shadow the
    ns
    macro, but it's extremely unlikely you'll ever need it in the body of a function.]
  • in macros: **
    expr
    - an expression **
    body
    - a macro body **
    binding
    - a macro binding vector
  • in methods (when specified in
    defprotocol
    ,
    deftype
    ,
    defrecord
    ,
    reify
    , etc): **
    this
    - for the first argument, indicating a reference to the object - or alternatively, a consistent name which describes the object

== Functions

=== Optional New Line After Function Name [[optional-new-line-after-fn-name]]

Optionally omit the new line between the function name and argument vector for

defn
when there is no docstring.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo x)

;; good (defn foo x)

;; bad (defn foo

x)

=== Multimethod Dispatch Val Placement [[multimethod-dispatch-val-placement]]

Place the

dispatch-val
of a multimethod on the same line as the function name.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defmethod foo :bar x)

(defmethod foo :bar x)

;; bad (defmethod foo :bar x)

(defmethod foo :bar [x]

(baz x))

=== One-line Functions

Optionally omit the new line between the argument vector and a short function body.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo x)

;; good for a small function body (defn foo x)

;; good for multi-arity functions (defn foo (x) (x y))

;; bad (defn foo [x] (if (predicate? x) (bar x)

(baz x)))

=== Multiple Arity Indentation [[multiple-arity-indentation]]

Indent each arity form of a function definition vertically aligned with its parameters.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo "I have two arities." (x) (x y))

;; bad - extra indentation (defn foo "I have two arities." (x) ([x y]

(+ x y)))

=== Multiple Arity Order [[multiple-arity-order]]

Sort the arities of a function from fewest to most arguments. The common case of multi-arity functions is that some K arguments fully specifies the function's behavior, and that arities N < K partially apply the K arity, and arities N > K provide a fold of the K arity over varargs.

[source,clojure]

;; good - it's easy to scan for the nth arity (defn foo "I have two arities." (x) (x y))

;; okay - the other arities are applications of the two-arity (defn foo "I have two arities." (x y) (x) (x y z & more))

;; bad - unordered for no apparent reason (defn foo ([x] 1) (x y z) (x y)

(w x y z & more))

=== Function Length [[function-length]]

Avoid functions longer than 10 LOC (lines of code). Ideally, most functions will be shorter than 5 LOC.

=== Function Positional Parameters Limit [[function-positional-parameter-limit]]

Avoid parameter lists with more than three or four positional parameters.

=== Pre and Post Conditions [[pre-post-conditions]]

Prefer function pre and post conditions to checks inside a function's body.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo [x] {:pre [(pos? x)]} (bar x))

;; bad (defn foo [x] (if (pos? x) (bar x)

(throw (IllegalArgumentException. "x must be a positive number!")))

== Idioms

=== Dynamic Namespace Manipulation [[ns-fns-only-in-repl]]

Avoid the use of namespace-manipulating functions like

require
and
refer
. They are entirely unnecessary outside of a REPL environment.

=== Forward References [[forward-references]]

Avoid forward references. They are occasionally necessary, but such occasions are rare in practice.

=== Declare [[declare]]

Use

declare
to enable forward references when forward references are necessary.

=== Higher-order Functions [[higher-order-fns]]

Prefer higher-order functions like

map
to
loop/recur
.

=== Vars Inside Functions [[dont-def-vars-inside-fns]]

Don't define vars inside functions.

[source,clojure]

;; very bad (defn foo

...)

=== Shadowing

clojure.core
Names [[dont-shadow-clojure-core]]

Don't shadow

clojure.core
names with local bindings.

[source,clojure]

;; bad - clojure.core/map must be fully qualified inside the function (defn foo [map]

...)

=== Alter Var Binding [[alter-var]]

Use

alter-var-root
instead of
def
to change the value of a var.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def thing 1) ; value of thing is now 1 ; do some stuff with thing (alter-var-root #'thing (constantly nil)) ; value of thing is now nil

;; bad (def thing 1) ; do some stuff with thing (def thing nil)

; value of thing is now nil

=== Nil Punning [[nil-punning]]

Use

seq
as a terminating condition to test whether a sequence is empty (this technique is sometimes called nil punning).

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn print-seq s)

;; bad (defn print-seq [s] (when-not (empty? s) (prn (first s))

(recur (rest s))))

=== Converting Sequences to Vectors [[to-vector]]

Prefer

vec
over
into
when you need to convert a sequence into a vector.

[source,clojure]

;; good (vec some-seq)

;; bad

(into [] some-seq)

=== Converting Something to Boolean

Use the

boolean
function if you need to convert something to an actual boolean value (
true
or
false
).

[source,clojure]

;; good (boolean (foo bar))

;; bad

(if (foo bar) true false)

NOTE: Don't forget that the only values in Clojure that are "falsey" are

false
and
nil
. Everything else will evaluate to
true
when passed to the
boolean
function.

You'll rarely need an actual boolean value in Clojure, but it's useful to know how to obtain one when you do.

===

when
vs
if
[[when-instead-of-single-branch-if]]

Use

when
instead of
if
with just the truthy branch, as in
(if condition (something...))
or
(if ... (do ...))
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (when pred (foo) (bar))

;; bad (if pred (do (foo)

(bar)))

===

if-let
[[if-let]]

Use

if-let
instead of
let
+
if
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (if-let result (foo x) (something-else))

;; bad (let [result (foo x)] (if result (something-with result)

(something-else)))

===

when-let
[[when-let]]

Use

when-let
instead of
let
+
when
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (when-let result (foo x) (do-something-more-with result))

;; bad (let [result (foo x)] (when result (do-something-with result)

(do-something-more-with result)))

===

if-not
[[if-not]]

Use

if-not
instead of
(if (not ...) ...)
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (if-not pred (foo))

;; bad (if (not pred)

(foo))

===

when-not
[[when-not]]

Use

when-not
instead of
(when (not ...) ...)
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (when-not pred (foo) (bar))

;; bad (when (not pred) (foo)

(bar))

===

when-not
vs
if-not
[[when-not-instead-of-single-branch-if-not]]

Use

when-not
instead of
(if-not ... (do ...))
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (when-not pred (foo) (bar))

;; bad (if-not pred (do (foo)

(bar)))

===

not=
[[not-equal]]

Use

not=
instead of
(not (= ...))
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (not= foo bar)

;; bad

(not (= foo bar))

===

printf
[[printf]]

Prefer

printf
over
(print (format ...))
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (printf "Hello, %s!\n" name)

;; ok

(println (format "Hello, %s!" name))

=== Flexible Comparison Functions

When doing comparisons, leverage the fact that Clojure's functions

<
,
>
, etc. accept a variable number of arguments.

[source,clojure]

;; good (< 5 x 10)

;; bad

(and (> x 5) (< x 10))

=== Single Parameter Function Literal [[single-param-fn-literal]]

Prefer

%
over
%1
in function literals with only one parameter.

[source,clojure]

;; good

(Math/round %)

;; bad

(Math/round %1)


=== Multiple Parameters Function Literal [[multiple-params-fn-literal]]

Prefer

%1
over
%
in function literals with more than one parameter.

[source,clojure]

;; good

(Math/pow %1 %2)

;; bad

(Math/pow % %2)


=== No Useless Anonymous Functions [[no-useless-anonymous-fns]]

Don't wrap functions in anonymous functions when you don't need to.

[source,clojure]

;; good (filter even? (range 1 10))

;; bad

(filter #(even? %) (range 1 10))

=== No Multiple Forms in Function Literals [[no-multiple-forms-fn-literals]]

Don't use function literals if the function body will consist of more than one form.

[source,clojure]

;; good (fn x (* x 2))

;; bad (you need an explicit do form)

(do (println %)

 (* % 2))

===

complement
[[complement]]

Favor the use of

complement
versus the use of an anonymous function.

[source,clojure]

;; good (filter (complement some-pred?) coll)

;; bad

(filter #(not (some-pred? %)) coll)

This rule should obviously be ignored if the complementing predicate exists in the form of a separate function (e.g.

even?
and
odd?
).

===

comp
[[comp]]

Favor

comp
over anonymous functions for function composition.

[source,clojure]

;; Assuming

(:require [clojure.string :as str])
...

;; good (map #(str/capitalize (str/trim %)) ["top " " test "])

;; better

(map (comp str/capitalize str/trim) ["top " " test "])

===

partial
[[partial]]

Favor

partial
over anonymous functions.

[source,clojure]

;; good (map #(+ 5 %) (range 1 10))

;; (arguably) better

(map (partial + 5) (range 1 10))

=== Threading Macros [[threading-macros]]

Prefer the use of the threading macros

+->+
(thread-first) and
+->>+
(thread-last) to heavy form nesting.

[source,clojure]

;; good (-> [1 2 3] reverse (conj 4) prn)

;; not as good (prn (conj (reverse [1 2 3]) 4))

;; good (->> (range 1 10) (filter even?) (map (partial * 2)))

;; not as good (map (partial * 2)

(filter even? (range 1 10)))

=== Threading Macros and Optional Parentheses

Parentheses are not required when using the threading macros for functions having no argument specified, so use them only when necessary.

[source,clojure]

;; good (-> x fizz :foo first frob)

;; bad; parens add clutter and are not needed (-> x (fizz) (:foo) (first) (frob))

;; good, parens are necessary with an arg (-> x (fizz a b) :foo first

(frob x y))

=== Threading Macros Alignment

The arguments to the threading macros

+->+
(thread-first) and
+->>+
(thread-last) should line up.

[source,clojure]

;; good (->> (range) (filter even?) (take 5))

;; bad (->> (range) (filter even?)

(take 5))

=== Default

cond
Branch [[else-keyword-in-cond]]

Use

:else
as the catch-all test expression in
cond
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (cond (neg? n) "negative" (pos? n) "positive" :else "zero")

;; bad (cond (neg? n) "negative" (pos? n) "positive"

true "zero")

===

condp
vs
cond
[[condp]]

Prefer

condp
instead of
cond
when the predicate & expression don't change.

[source,clojure]

;; good (cond (= x 10) :ten (= x 20) :twenty (= x 30) :thirty :else :dunno)

;; much better (condp = x 10 :ten 20 :twenty 30 :thirty

:dunno)

===

case
vs
cond/condp
[[case]]

Prefer

case
instead of
cond
or
condp
when test expressions are compile-time constants.

[source,clojure]

;; good (cond (= x 10) :ten (= x 20) :twenty (= x 30) :forty :else :dunno)

;; better (condp = x 10 :ten 20 :twenty 30 :forty :dunno)

;; best (case x 10 :ten 20 :twenty 30 :forty

:dunno)

=== Short Forms In Cond [[short-forms-in-cond]]

Use short forms in

cond
and related. If not possible give visual hints for the pairwise grouping with comments or empty lines.

[source,clojure]

;; good (cond (test1) (action1) (test2) (action2) :else (default-action))

;; ok-ish (cond ;; test case 1 (test1) (long-function-name-which-requires-a-new-line (complicated-sub-form (-> 'which-spans multiple-lines)))

;; test case 2 (test2) (another-very-long-function-name (yet-another-sub-form (-> 'which-spans multiple-lines)))

:else (the-fall-through-default-case (which-also-spans 'multiple

'lines)))

=== Set As Predicate [[set-as-predicate]]

Use a

set
as a predicate when appropriate.

[source,clojure]

;; good (remove #{1} [0 1 2 3 4 5])

;; bad (remove #(= % 1) [0 1 2 3 4 5])

;; good (count (filter #{\a \e \i \o \u} "mary had a little lamb"))

;; bad (count (filter #(or (= % \a) (= % \e) (= % \i) (= % \o) (= % \u))

"mary had a little lamb"))

===

inc
and
dec
[[inc-and-dec]]

Use

(inc x)
&
(dec x)
instead of
(+ x 1)
and
(- x 1)
.

===

pos?
and
neg?
[[pos-and-neg]]

Use

(pos? x)
,
(neg? x)
&
(zero? x)
instead of
(> x 0)
,
(< x 0)
&
(= x 0)
.

===

list*
vs
cons
[[list-star-instead-of-nested-cons]]

Use

list*
instead of a series of nested
cons
invocations.

[source,clojure]

;; good (list* 1 2 3 [4 5])

;; bad

(cons 1 (cons 2 (cons 3 [4 5])))

=== Sugared Java Interop [[sugared-java-interop]]

Use the sugared Java interop forms.

[source,clojure]

;;; object creation ;; good (java.util.ArrayList. 100)

;; bad (new java.util.ArrayList 100)

;;; static method invocation ;; good (Math/pow 2 10)

;; bad (. Math pow 2 10)

;;; instance method invocation ;; good (.substring "hello" 1 3)

;; bad (. "hello" substring 1 3)

;;; static field access ;; good Integer/MAX_VALUE

;; bad (. Integer MAX_VALUE)

;;; instance field access ;; good (.someField some-object)

;; bad

(. some-object someField)

=== Compact Metadata Notation For True Flags [[compact-metadata-notation-for-true-flags]]

Use the compact metadata notation for metadata that contains only slots whose keys are keywords and whose value is boolean

true
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def ^:private a 5)

;; bad

(def ^{:private true} a 5)

=== Private [[private]]

Denote private parts of your code.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn- private-fun [] ...)

(def ^:private private-var ...)

;; bad (defn private-fun [] ...) ; not private at all

(defn ^:private private-fun [] ...) ; overly verbose

(def private-var ...) ; not private at all

=== Access Private Var [[access-private-var]]

To access a private var (e.g. for testing), use the

@#'some.ns/var
form.

=== Attach Metadata Carefully [[attach-metadata-carefully]]

Be careful regarding what exactly you attach metadata to.

[source,clojure]

;; we attach the metadata to the var referenced by

a
(def ^:private a {}) (meta a) ;=> nil (meta #'a) ;=> {:private true}

;; we attach the metadata to the empty hash-map value (def a ^:private {}) (meta a) ;=> {:private true}

(meta #'a) ;=> nil

== Data Structures

[quote, Alan J. Perlis]


It is better to have 100 functions operate on one data structure than to have 10 functions operate on 10 data structures.


=== Avoid Lists [[avoid-lists]]

Avoid the use of lists for generic data storage (unless a list is exactly what you need).

=== Keywords For Hash Keys [[keywords-for-hash-keys]]

Prefer the use of keywords for hash keys.

[source,clojure]

;; good {:name "Bruce" :age 30}

;; bad

{"name" "Bruce" "age" 30}

=== Literal Collection Syntax [[literal-col-syntax]]

Prefer the use of the literal collection syntax where applicable. However, when defining sets, only use literal syntax when the values are compile-time constants.

[source,clojure]

;; good [1 2 3]

{1 2 3}

(hash-set (func1) (func2)) ; values determined at runtime

;; bad (vector 1 2 3) (hash-set 1 2 3)

{(func1) (func2)} ; will throw runtime exception if (func1) = (func2)


=== Avoid Index Based Collection Access [[avoid-index-based-coll-access]]

Avoid accessing collection members by index whenever possible.

=== Keywords as Functions for Map Values Retrieval [[keywords-as-fn-to-get-map-values]]

Prefer the use of keywords as functions for retrieving values from maps, where applicable.

[source,clojure]

(def m {:name "Bruce" :age 30})

;; good (:name m)

;; more verbose than necessary (get m :name)

;; bad - susceptible to NullPointerException

(m :name)

=== Collections as Functions [[colls-as-fns]]

Leverage the fact that most collections are functions of their elements.

[source,clojure]

;; good (filter #{\a \e \o \i \u} "this is a test")

;; bad - too ugly to share

=== Keywords as Functions [[keywords-as-fns]]

Leverage the fact that keywords can be used as functions of a collection.

[source,clojure]

((juxt :a :b) {:a "ala" :b "bala"})

=== Avoid Transient Collections [[avoid-transient-colls]]

Avoid the use of transient collections, except for performance-critical portions of the code.

=== Avoid Java Collections [[avoid-java-colls]]

Avoid the use of Java collections.

=== Avoid Java Arrays [[avoid-java-arrays]]

Avoid the use of Java arrays, except for interop scenarios and performance-critical code dealing heavily with primitive types.

== Types & Records

=== Record Constructors [[record-constructors]]

Don't use the interop syntax to construct type and record instances.

deftype
and
defrecord
automatically create constructor functions. Use those instead of the interop syntax, as they make it clear that you're dealing with a
deftype
or a
defrecord
. See https://stuartsierra.com/2015/05/17/clojure-record-constructors[this article] for more details.

[source,clojure]

(defrecord Foo [a b]) (deftype Bar [a b])

;; good (->Foo 1 2) (map->Foo {:b 4 :a 3}) (->Bar 1 2)

;; bad (Foo. 1 2)

(Bar. 1 2)

Note that

deftype
doesn't define the
+map->Type+
constructor. It's available only for records.

=== Custom Record Constructors [[custom-record-constructors]]

Add custom type/record constructors when needed (e.g. to validate properties on record creation). See https://stuartsierra.com/2015/05/17/clojure-record-constructors[this article] for more details.

[source,clojure]

(defrecord Customer [id name phone email])

(defn make-customer "Creates a new customer record." [{:keys [name phone email]}] {:pre [(string? name) (valid-phone? phone) (valid-email? email)]}

(->Customer (next-id) name phone email))

Feel free to adopt whatever naming convention or structure you'd like for such custom constructors.

=== Custom Record Constructors Naming [[custom-record-constructors-naming]]

Don't override the auto-generated type/record constructor functions. People expect them to have a certain behaviour and changing this behaviour violates the principle of least surprise. See https://stuartsierra.com/2015/05/17/clojure-record-constructors[this article] for more details.

[source,clojure]

(defrecord Foo [num])

;; good (defn make-foo [num] {:pre [(pos? num)]} (->Foo num))

;; bad (defn ->Foo [num] {:pre [(pos? num)]}

(Foo. num))

== Mutation

=== Refs [[Refs]]

====

io!
Macro [[refs-io-macro]]

Consider wrapping all I/O calls with the

io!
macro to avoid nasty surprises if you accidentally end up calling such code in a transaction.

==== Avoid

ref-set
[[refs-avoid-ref-set]]

Avoid the use of

ref-set
whenever possible.

[source,clojure]

(def r (ref 0))

;; good (dosync (alter r + 5))

;; bad

(dosync (ref-set r 5))

==== Small Transactions [[refs-small-transactions]]

Try to keep the size of transactions (the amount of work encapsulated in them) as small as possible.

==== Avoid Short Long Transactions With Same Ref [[refs-avoid-short-long-transactions-with-same-ref]]

Avoid having both short- and long-running transactions interacting with the same Ref.

=== Agents [[Agents]]

==== Agents Send [[agents-send]]

Use

send
only for actions that are CPU bound and don't block on I/O or other threads.

==== Agents Send Off [[agents-send-off]]

Use

send-off
for actions that might block, sleep, or otherwise tie up the thread.

=== Atoms [[Atoms]]

==== No Updates Within Transactions [[atoms-no-update-within-transactions]]

Avoid atom updates inside STM transactions.

==== Prefer

swap!
over
reset!
[[atoms-prefer-swap-over-reset]]

Try to use

swap!
rather than
reset!
, where possible.

[source,clojure]

(def a (atom 0))

;; good (swap! a + 5)

;; not as good

(reset! a 5)

== Strings

=== Prefer

clojure.string
Functions Over Interop [[prefer-clojure-string-over-interop]]

Prefer string manipulation functions from

clojure.string
over Java interop or rolling your own.

[source,clojure]

;; good (clojure.string/upper-case "bruce")

;; bad

(.toUpperCase "bruce")

NOTE: Several new functions were added to

clojure.string
in Clojure 1.8 (
index-of
,
last-index-of
,
starts-with?
,
ends-with?
and
includes?
). You should avoid using those if you need to support older Clojure releases.

== Exceptions

=== Reuse Existing Exception Types [[reuse-existing-exception-types]]

Reuse existing exception types. Idiomatic Clojure code -- when it does throw an exception -- throws an exception of a standard type (e.g.

java.lang.IllegalArgumentException
,
java.lang.UnsupportedOperationException
,
java.lang.IllegalStateException
,
java.io.IOException
).

=== Prefer

with-open
Over
finally
[[prefer-with-open-over-finally]]

Favor

with-open
over
finally
.

== Macros

=== Don't Write a Macro If a Function Will Do [[dont-write-macro-if-fn-will-do]]

Don't write a macro if a function will do.

=== Write Macro Usage before Writing the Macro [[write-macro-usage-before-writing-the-macro]]

Create an example of a macro usage first and the macro afterwards.

=== Break Complicated Macros [[break-complicated-macros]]

Break complicated macros into smaller functions whenever possible.

=== Macros as Syntactic Sugar [[macros-as-syntactic-sugar]]

A macro should usually just provide syntactic sugar and the core of the macro should be a plain function. Doing so will improve composability.

=== Syntax Quoted Forms [[syntax-quoted-forms]]

Prefer syntax-quoted forms over building lists manually.

== Common Metadata

In this section we'll go over some common metadata for namespaces and vars that Clojure development tools can leverage.

===

:added

The most common way to document when a public API was added to a library is via the

:added
metadata.

[source,clojure]

(def ^{:added "0.5"} foo 42)

(ns foo.bar "A very useful ns." {:added "0.8"})

(defn ^{:added "0.5"} foo

(bar))

TIP: If you're into SemVer, it's a good idea to omit the patch version. This means you should use

0.5
instead of
0.5.0
. This applies for all metadata data that's version related.

===

:changed

The most common way to document when a public API was changed in a library is via the

:changed
metadata. This metadata makes sense only for vars and you should be using it sparingly, as changing the behavior of a public API is generally a bad idea.

Still, if you decide to do it, it's best to make that clear to the API users.

[source,clojure]

(def ^{:added "0.5" :changed "0.6"} foo

43)

===

:deprecated

The most common way to mark deprecated public APIs is via the

:deprecated
metadata. Normally you'd use as the value the version in which something was deprecated in case of versioned software (e.g. a library) or simply
true
in the case of unversioned software (e.g. some web application).

[source,clojure]

;;; good ;; ;; in case we have a version (def ^{:deprecated "0.5"} foo "Use

bar
instead." 42)

(ns foo.bar "A deprecated ns." {:deprecated "0.8"})

(defn ^{:deprecated "0.5"} foo (bar))

;; otherwise (defn ^:deprecated foo (bar))

;;; bad ;; ;; using the docstring to signal deprecation (def foo "DEPRECATED: Use

bar
instead." 42)

(ns foo.bar

"DEPRECATED: A deprecated ns.")

===

:superseded-by

Often you'd combine

:deprecated
with
:superseded-by
, as there would be some newer API that supersedes whatever got deprecated.

Typically for vars you'll use a non-qualified name if the replacement lives in the same namespace, and a fully-qualified name otherwise.

[source,clojure]

;; in case we have a version (def ^{:deprecated "0.5" :superseded-by "bar"} foo "Use

bar
instead." 42)

(ns foo.bar "A deprecated ns." {:deprecated "0.8" :superseded-by "foo.baz"})

(defn ^{:deprecated "0.5" :superseded-by "bar"} foo (bar))

;; otherwise (defn ^{:deprecated true :superseded-by "bar"} foo

(bar))

TIP: You can also consider adding

:supersedes
metadata to the newer APIs, basically the inverse of
:superseded-by
.

===

:see-also

From time to time you might want to point out some related vars/namespaces that the users of your library might be interested in. The most common way to do so would be via the

:see-also
metadata, which takes a vector of related items. When talking about vars - items in the same namespace don't need to fully qualified.

[source,clojure]

;; refers to vars in the same ns (def ^{:see-also ["bar" "baz"]} foo "A very useful var." 42)

;; refers to vars in some other ns (defn ^{:see-also ["top.bar" "top.baz"]} foo

(bar))

NOTE: Many Clojure programming tools will also try to extract references to other vars from the docstring, but it's both simpler and more explicit to use the

:see-also
metadata instead.

===

:no-doc

Documentation tools like https://github.com/weavejester/codox#metadata-options[Codox] like https://github.com/cljdoc/cljdoc/blob/master/doc/userguide/for-library-authors.adoc#hiding-namespaces-vars-in-documentation[cljdoc] recognize

:no-doc
metadata. When a var or a namespace has
:no-doc
metadata, it indicates to these tools that it should be excluded from generated API docs.

To exclude an entire namespace from API docs:

[source,clojure]

(ns ^:no-doc my-library.impl "Internal implementation details")

...

To exclude vars within a documented namespace:

[source,clojure]

(ns my-library.api)

;; private functions do not get documented (defn- clearly-private [] ...)

;; nor do public functions with :no-doc metadata (defn ^:no-doc shared-helper [] ...)

;; this function will be documented (defn api-fn1 "I am useful to the public" []

...)

=== Indentation Metadata

Unlike other Lisp dialects, Clojure doesn't have a standard metadata format to specify the indentation of macros. CIDER proposed a tool-agnostic https://docs.cider.mx/cider/indent_spec.html[indentation specification] based on metadata in 2015.footnote:[This was first introduced in CIDER 0.10] Here's a simple example:

[source,clojure]

;; refers to vars in the same ns (defmacro with-in-str "[DOCSTRING]" {:style/indent 1} [s & body]

...cut for brevity...)

This instructs the indentation engine that this is a macro with one ordinary parameter and a body after it.

[source,clojure]

;; without metadata (indented as a regular function) (dop-iin-str some-string foo bar baz)

;; with metadata (indented as macro with one special param and a body) (with-in-str some-string foo bar

baz)

Unfortunately, as of 2020 there's still no widespread adoption of

:style/indent
and many editors and IDEs would just hardcode the indentation rules for common macros.

NOTE: This approach to indentation ("semantic indentation") is a contested topic in the Clojure community, due to the need for the additional metadata and tooling support. Despite the long tradition of that approach in the Lisp community in general, some people argue to just stop treating functions and macros differently and simply indent everything with a fixed indentation. https://tonsky.me/blog/clojurefmt/[This article] is one popular presentation of that alternative approach.

== Comments

[quote, Steve McConnell]


Good code is its own best documentation. As you're about to add a comment, ask yourself, "How can I improve the code so that this comment isn't needed?" Improve the code and then document it to make it even clearer.


=== Self-Explanatory Code

Endeavor to make your code as self-explanatory as possible. If you fail to achieve this follow the rest of the guidelines in this section.

=== Heading Comments [[four-semicolons-for-heading-comments]]

Write heading comments with at least four semicolons. Those typically serve to outline/separate major section of code, or to describe important ideas. Often you'd have a section comment followed by a bunch of top-level comments.

[source,clojure]

;;;; Section Comment/Heading

;;; Foo... ;;; Bar...

;;; Baz...

=== Top-Level Comments [[three-semicolons-for-top-level-comments]]

Write top-level comments with three semicolons.

[source,clojure]

;;; I'm a top-level comment. ;;; I live outside any definition.

(defn foo [])

NOTE: While the classic Lisp tradition dictates the use of

;;;
for top-level comments, you'll find plenty of Clojure code in the wild that's using
;;
or even
;
.

=== Code Fragment (Line) Comments [[two-semicolons-for-code-fragment]]

Write comments on a particular fragment of code before that fragment and aligned with it, using two semicolons.

[source,clojure]

(defn foo [x] ;; I'm a line/code fragment comment.

x)

NOTE: While the classic Lisp tradition dictates the use of

;;
for line comments, you'll find plenty of Clojure code in the wild that's using only
;
.

=== Margin (Inline) Comments [[one-semicolon-for-margin-comments]]

Write margin comments with one semicolon.

[source,clojure]

(defn foo [x] x ; I'm a line/code fragment comment.

)

Avoid using those in situations that would result in hanging closing parentheses.

=== Semicolon Space [[semicolon-space]]

Always have at least one space between the semicolon and the text that follows it.

[source,clojure]

;;;; Frob Grovel

;;; This section of code has some important implications: ;;; 1. Foo. ;;; 2. Bar. ;;; 3. Baz.

(defn fnord [zarquon] ;; If zob, then veeblefitz. (quux zot mumble ; Zibblefrotz.

frotz))

=== English Syntax [[english-syntax]]

Comments longer than a word begin with a capital letter and use punctuation. Separate sentences with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentence_spacing[one space].

[source,clojure]

;; This is a good comment.

;; this is a bad comment

Obviously punctuation is not the most important thing about a comment, but a bit of extra effort results in better experience for the readers of our comments.

=== No Superfluous Comments [[no-superfluous-comments]]

Avoid superfluous comments.

[source,clojure]

;; bad

(inc counter) ; increments counter by one

=== Comment Upkeep [[comment-upkeep]]

Keep existing comments up-to-date. An outdated comment is worse than no comment at all.

===

#_
Reader Macro [[dash-underscore-reader-macro]]

Prefer the use of the

#_
reader macro over a regular comment when you need to comment out a particular form.

[source,clojure]

;; good (+ foo #_(bar x) delta)

;; bad (+ foo ;; (bar x)

delta)

=== Refactor, Don't Comment [[refactor-dont-comment]]

[quote, Russ Olsen]


Good code is like a good joke - it needs no explanation.


Avoid writing comments to explain bad code. Refactor the code to make it self-explanatory. ("Do, or do not. There is no try." --Yoda)

=== Comment Annotations

==== Annotate Above [[annotate-above]]

Annotations should usually be written on the line immediately above the relevant code.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME: Replace baz with the newer bar. (baz))

;; bad ;; FIXME: Replace baz with the newer bar. (defn some-fun []

(baz))

==== Annotate Keywords [[annotate-keywords]]

The annotation keyword is followed by a colon and a space, then a note describing the problem.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME: Replace baz with the newer bar. (baz))

;; bad - no colon after annotation (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME Replace baz with the newer bar. (baz))

;; bad - no space after colon (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME:Replace baz with the newer bar.

(baz))

==== Indent Annotations [[indent-annotations]]

If multiple lines are required to describe the problem, subsequent lines should be indented as much as the first one.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME: This has crashed occasionally since v1.2.3. It may ;; be related to the BarBazUtil upgrade. (xz 13-1-31) (baz))

;; bad (defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME: This has crashed occasionally since v1.2.3. It may ;; be related to the BarBazUtil upgrade. (xz 13-1-31)

(baz))

==== Sign and Date Annotations [[sign-and-date-annotations]]

Tag the annotation with your initials and a date so its relevance can be easily verified.

[source,clojure]

(defn some-fun [] ;; FIXME: This has crashed occasionally since v1.2.3. It may ;; be related to the BarBazUtil upgrade. (xz 13-1-31)

(baz))

==== Rare Margin (EOL) Annotations [[rare-eol-annotations]]

In cases where the problem is so obvious that any documentation would be redundant, annotations may be left at the end of the offending line with no note. This usage should be the exception and not the rule.

[source,clojure]

(defn bar []

(sleep 100)) ; OPTIMIZE

====

TODO
[[todo]]

Use

TODO
to note missing features or functionality that should be added at a later date.

====

FIXME
[[fixme]]

Use

FIXME
to note broken code that needs to be fixed.

====

OPTIMIZE
[[optimize]]

Use

OPTIMIZE
to note slow or inefficient code that may cause performance problems.

====

HACK
[[hack]]

Use

HACK
to note "code smells" where questionable coding practices were used and should be refactored away.

====

REVIEW
[[review]]

Use

REVIEW
to note anything that should be looked at to confirm it is working as intended. For example:
REVIEW: Are we sure this is how the
client does X currently?

==== Document Custom Annotations [[document-annotations]]

Use other custom annotation keywords if it feels appropriate, but be sure to document them in your project's

README
or similar.

== Documentation

Docstrings are the primary way to document Clojure code. Many definition forms (e.g.

def
,
defn
,
defmacro
,
ns
) support docstrings and usually it's a good idea to make good use of them, regardless of whether the var in question is something public or private.

If a definition form doesn't support docstrings directly you can still supply them via the

:doc
metadata attribute.

This section outlines some of the common conventions and best practices for documenting Clojure code.

=== Prefer Docstrings [[prefer-docstrings]]

If a form supports docstrings directly prefer them over using

:doc
metadata:

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo "This function doesn't do much." [] ...)

(ns foo.bar.core "That's an awesome library.")

;; bad (defn foo ^{:doc "This function doesn't do much."} [] ...)

(ns ^{:doc "That's an awesome library.")

foo.bar.core)

=== Docstring Summary [[docstring-summary]]

Let the first line in the docstring be a complete, capitalized sentence which concisely describes the var in question. This makes it easy for tooling (Clojure editors and IDEs) to display a short a summary of the docstring at various places.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn frobnitz "This function does a frobnitz. It will do gnorwatz to achieve this, but only under certain circumstances." [] ...)

;; bad (defn frobnitz "This function does a frobnitz. It will do gnorwatz to achieve this, but only under certain circumstances." []

...)

=== Leverage Markdown in Docstrings [[markdown-docstrings]]

Important tools such as https://github.com/cljdoc/cljdoc/blob/master/doc/userguide/for-library-authors.adoc#docstrings[cljdoc] support Markdown in docstrings so leverage it for nicely formatted documentation.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn qzuf-number "Computes the Qzuf number of the

coll
. Supported options in
opts
:

| key | description | | --------------|-------------| |

:finite-uni?
| Assume finite universe; default:
false
|
:complex?
| If OK to return a complex number; default:
false
|
:timeout
| Throw an exception if the computation doesn't finish within
:timeout
milliseconds; default:
nil

Example:

clojure
  (when (neg? (qzuf-number [1 2 3] {:finite-uni? true}))
    (throw (RuntimeException. \"Error in the Universe!\")))
" [coll opts]

...)

=== Document Positional Arguments [[document-pos-arguments]]

Document all positional arguments, and wrap them them with backticks (`) so that editors and IDEs can identify them and potentially provide extra functionality for them.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn watsitz "Watsitz takes a

frob
and converts it to a znoot. When the
frob
is negative, the znoot becomes angry." [frob] ...)

;; bad (defn watsitz "Watsitz takes a frob and converts it to a znoot. When the frob is negative, the znoot becomes angry." [frob]

...)

=== Document References [[document-references]]

Wrap any var references in the docstring with

so that tooling
can identify them. Wrap them with
[[..]]` if you want to link to them.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn wombat "Acts much like

clojure.core/identity
except when it doesn't. Takes
x
as an argument and returns that. If it feels like it. See also [[kangaroo]]." [x] ...)

;; bad (defn wombat "Acts much like clojure.core/identity except when it doesn't. Takes

x
as an argument and returns that. If it feels like it. See also kangaroo." [x]

...)

=== Docstring Grammar [[docstring-grammar]]

Docstrings should be composed of well-formed English sentences. Every sentence should start with a capitalized word, be gramatically coherent, and end with appropriate punctuation. Sentences should be separated with a single space.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def foo "All sentences should end with a period (or maybe an exclamation mark). The sentence should be followed by a space, unless it concludes the docstring.")

;; bad (def foo "all sentences should end with a period (or maybe an exclamation mark).

The sentence should be followed by a space, unless it concludes the docstring.")

=== Docstring Indentation [[docstring-indentation]]

Indent multi-line docstrings by two spaces.

[source,clojure]

;; good (ns my.ns "It is actually possible to document a ns. It's a nice place to describe the purpose of the namespace and maybe even the overall conventions used. Note how not indenting the docstring makes it easier for tooling to display it correctly.")

;; bad (ns my.ns "It is actually possible to document a ns. It's a nice place to describe the purpose of the namespace and maybe even the overall conventions used. Note how not indenting the docstring makes

it easier for tooling to display it correctly.")

=== Docstring Leading Trailing Whitespace [[docstring-leading-trailing-whitespace]]

Neither start nor end your docstrings with any whitespace.

[source,clojure]

;; good (def foo "I'm so awesome." 42)

;; bad (def silly " It's just silly to start a docstring with spaces. Just as silly as it is to end it with a bunch of them. "

42)

=== Place Docstring After Function Name [[docstring-after-fn-name]]

When adding a docstring -- especially to a function using the above form -- take care to correctly place the docstring after the function name, not after the argument vector. The latter is not invalid syntax and won't cause an error, but includes the string as a form in the function body without attaching it to the var as documentation.

[source,clojure]

;; good (defn foo "docstring" x)

;; bad (defn foo [x] "docstring"

(bar x))

[NOTE]

Place docstrings for

defprotocol
methods after the argument vector:

[source,clojure]

(defprotocol MyProtocol "MyProtocol docstring" (foo [this x y z] "foo docstring") (bar [this]

"bar docstring"))

====

== Testing

=== Test Directory Structure [[test-directory-structure]]

Store your tests in a separate directory, typically

test/yourproject/
(as opposed to
src/yourproject/
). Your build tool is responsible for making them available in the contexts where they are necessary; most templates will do this for you automatically.

=== Test Namespace Naming [[test-ns-naming]]

Name your ns

yourproject.something-test
, a file which usually lives in
test/yourproject/something_test.clj
(or
.cljc
,
cljs
).

=== Test Naming [[test-naming]]

When using

clojure.test
, define your tests with
deftest
and name them
something-test
.

[source,clojure]

;; good (deftest something-test ...)

;; bad (deftest something-tests ...) (deftest test-something ...)

(deftest something ...)

== Library Organization

=== Library Coordinates [[lib-coordinates]]

If you are publishing libraries to be used by others, make sure to follow the https://central.sonatype.org/pages/choosing-your-coordinates.html[Central Repository guidelines] for choosing your

groupId
and
artifactId
. This helps to prevent name conflicts and facilitates the widest possible use. A good example is https://github.com/stuartsierra/component[Component] - its coordinates are
com.stuartsierra/component
.

Another approach that's popular in the wild is to use a project (or organization) name as the

groupId
instead of domain name. Examples of such naming would be:
  • cider/cider-nrepl
  • nrepl/nrepl
  • nrepl/drawbridge
  • clj-commons/fs

=== Minimize Dependencies [[lib-min-dependencies]]

Avoid unnecessary dependencies. For example, a three-line utility function copied into a project is usually better than a dependency that drags in hundreds of vars you do not plan to use.

=== Tool-agnostic [[lib-core-separate-from-tools]]

Deliver core functionality and integration points in separate artifacts. That way, consumers can consume your library without being constrained by your unrelated tooling preferences. For example, https://github.com/stuartsierra/component[Component] provides core functionality, and https://github.com/stuartsierra/reloaded[reloaded] provides leiningen integration.

== Existential

=== Be Functional [[be-functional]]

Code in a functional way, using mutation only when it makes sense.

=== Be Consistent [[be-consistent]]

Be consistent. In an ideal world, be consistent with these guidelines.

=== Common Sense [[common-sense]]

Use common sense.

== Tools

One problem with style guides is that it's often hard to remember all the guidelines and to apply them consistently. We're only humans, after all. Fortunately, there are a bunch of tools that can do most of the work for us.

TIP: It's a great idea run such tools as part of your continuous integration (CI). This ensure that all the code in one project is consistent with the style you're aiming for.

=== Lint Tools

There are some lint tools created by the Clojure community that might aid you in your endeavor to write idiomatic Clojure code.

  • https://github.com/jonase/kibit[kibit] is a static code analyzer for Clojure which uses https://github.com/clojure/core.logic[core.logic] to search for patterns of code for which there might exist a more idiomatic function or macro.
  • https://github.com/borkdude/clj-kondo[clj-kondo] is a linter that detects a wide number of discouraged patterns and suggests improvements, based on this style guide.

=== Code Formatters

While most Clojure editors and IDEs can format the code, according to the layout guidelines outlined here, it's always handy to have some command-line code formatting tools. There are a couple of options for Clojure that do a great job when it comes to formatting the code as suggested in this guide:

  • https://github.com/weavejester/cljfmt[cljfmt]
  • https://github.com/greglook/cljstyle[cljstyle]
  • https://github.com/kkinnear/zprintzprint

NOTE: When it comes to editors - Emacs's

clojure-mode
by default will format the code exactly as outlined in the guide. Other editors might require some configuration tweaking to produce the same results.

== History

This guide was started in 2013 by https://github.com/bbatsov[Bozhidar Batsov], following the success of a https://rubystyle.guide/[similar project] he had created in the Ruby community.

Bozhidar was very passionate about both Clojure and good programming style and he wanted to bridge the between what was covered by the https://clojure.org/community/contribhowto#coding_guidelines[Clojure library coding guidelines] and what the style guides for languages like Java, Python and Ruby would typically cover. Bozhidar still serves as the guide's primary editor, but there's an entire editor team supporting the project.

Since the inception of the guide we've received a lot of feedback from members of the exceptional Clojure community around the world. Thanks for all the suggestions and the support! Together we can make a resource beneficial to each and every Clojure developer out there.

== Sources of Inspiration

Many people, books, presentations, articles and other style guides influenced the community Clojure style guide. Here are some of them:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheElementsof_Style["The Elements of Style"]
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheElementsofProgrammingStyle["The Elements of Programming Style"]
  • https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0008/[Python Style Guide (PEP-8)]
  • https://rubystyle.guide/[Community Ruby Style Guide]
  • https://google.github.io/styleguide/lispguide.xml[Google's Common Lisp Style Guide]
  • http://community.schemewiki.org/?scheme-style[scheme-style]
  • https://clojure.org/community/contribhowto#coding_guidelines[Clojure Library Coding Guidelines]
  • https://www.clojurebook.com/["Clojure Programming"]
  • https://joyofclojure.com/["The Joy of Clojure"]
  • https://elementsofclojure.com/["Elements of Clojure"]
  • https://pragprog.com/titles/vmclojeco/clojure-applied/["Clojure Applied"]
  • https://stuartsierra.com/tag/dos-and-donts[Stuart Sierra's "Clojure Dos and Don't" blog series]

== Editor Team

The Clojure style guide is stewarded by an editor team of experienced Clojurists that aims to reduce all the input we get (e.g. feedback and suggestions) to a better reference for everyone.

  • https://metaredux.com/about/[Bozhidar Batsov]
  • https://insideclojure.org/about/[Alex Miller]
  • https://danielcompton.net/about[Daniel Compton]
  • https://corfield.org/[Sean Corfield]

== Contributing

The guide is still a work in progress - some guidelines are lacking examples, some guidelines don't have examples that illustrate them clearly enough. Improving such guidelines is a great (and simple way) to help the Clojure community!

In due time these issues will (hopefully) be addressed - just keep them in mind for now.

Nothing written in this guide is set in stone. It's my desire to work together with everyone interested in Clojure coding style, so that we could ultimately create a resource that will be beneficial to the entire Clojure community.

Feel free to open tickets or send pull requests with improvements. Thanks in advance for your help!

You can also support the style guide (and all my Clojure projects like CIDER, nREPL, orchard, etc) with financial contributions via one of the following platforms:

  • https://github.com/sponsors/bbatsov[GitHub Sponsors]
  • https://ko-fi.com/bbatsov[ko-fi]
  • https://www.patreon.com/bbatsov[Patreon]
  • https://www.paypal.me/bbatsov[PayPal]

=== How to Contribute?

It's easy, just follow the contribution guidelines below:

  • https://help.github.com/articles/fork-a-repo[Fork] https://github.com/bbatsov/clojure-style-guide[bbatsov/clojure-style-guide] on GitHub
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix in a feature branch.
  • Include a http://tbaggery.com/2008/04/19/a-note-about-git-commit-messages.html[good description] of your changes
  • Push your feature branch to GitHub
  • Send a https://help.github.com/articles/using-pull-requests[Pull Request]

== Colophon

This guide is written in https://asciidoc.org/[AsciiDoc] and is published as HTML using https://asciidoctor.org/[AsciiDoctor]. The HTML version of the guide is hosted on GitHub Pages.

Originally the guide was written in Markdown, but was converted to AsciiDoc in 2019.

== License

image:https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/3.0/88x31.png[Creative Commons License] This work is licensed under a https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US[Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License]

== Spread the Word

A community-driven style guide is of little use to a community that doesn't know about its existence. Tweet about the guide, share it with your friends and colleagues. Every comment, suggestion or opinion we get makes the guide just a little bit better. And we want to have the best possible guide, don't we?

We use cookies. If you continue to browse the site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information on our use of cookies please see our Privacy Policy.