Code is a poetry

Working with ClojureScript at ease

Posted at — Apr 12, 2021

Today we are going to talk about ClojureScript and review many useful functions and concepts you need to know when working with Clojure/JavaScript interoperability.

To get started you would need a ClojureScript Repl running. On Mac OS and Linux systems I recommend to install Planck.

You can even practice with ClojureScript on your mobile phone with Replete REP‪L app. It is available for both Apple and Android platforms.

With a ClojureScript Repl running we can now start to experiment. In ClojureScript to access JavaScript functions we have a special namespace js. For those coming from JavaScript js is the same as window object in a browser with all builtin functions(methods) attached to it. For ex.: (js/alert "Hello world!") or (js/console.log "Hello world!").

In the example below we will print “Hello world” with a delay of 1000 ms using a setTimeout function:

(js/setTimeout #(println "Hello world") 1000)

To create a JavaScript object we can use js-obj function:

cljs.user=> (js-obj "zip" 10001 "city" "New York")
#js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"}

Alternatively we can use #js macros:

cljs.user=> #js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"}
#js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"}

To delete a property from the object we use js-delete function. In the function call we need to provide an object name and the key. We need to remember that in JS world keys are strings not keywords:

cljs.user=> (def location #js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"})
cljs.user=> (js-delete location "zip")
cljs.user=> location
#js {:city "New York"}

To create a JavaScript array we use #js macros again or an array function:

cljs.user=> #js ["Apples", "Bananas", "Apricots"]
#js ["Apples" "Bananas" "Apricots"]
cljs.user=> (array "Apples", "Bananas", "Apricots")
#js ["Apples" "Bananas" "Apricots"]

Also we could create an array with a desirable length with make-array function. In the example below we are creating array with five empty elements:

cljs.user=> (make-array 5)
#js [nil nil nil nil nil]

We can convert data structures between JavaScript and Clojure using a js->clj function:

cljs.user=> (js->clj location)
{"city" "New York"}

Unfortunately keys are still strings after the conversion. To change them back to keywords we need to provide an optional parameter :keywordize-keys with value of true:

cljs.user=> (js->clj location :keywordize-keys true)
{:city "New York"}

A clj->js function is used to convert Clojure data structures to JS ones:

cljs.user=> (clj->js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"})
#js {:zip 10001, :city "New York"}

We can get a property value from the JS object with .-key syntax. A dot dash .- is used to distinguish a reading of the property from a calling of the method of the object with .:

cljs.user=> (.-city location)
"New York"

Another way to read the property of the object is by using aget function:

(aget location "city")
"New York"

To write a value to the object property we use aset function:

cljs.user=> (aset location "city" "Boston")

Reading a value of the nested properties is quite simple too. We use .. to get to the nested structure:

cljs.user=> (def location #js {:address #js {:zip 10001 :city "New York"}})
cljs.user=> (.. location -address -zip)

Down below is an example of two ways of running now method on a JS Date object using a dot notation:

cljs.user=> (js/Date.now)
cljs.user=> (.now js/Date)

To call a function constructor to create an instance of the JS object we use Objectname. dot notation. It is the same as calling new Date in JavaScript:

cljs.user=> (js/Date.)
#inst "2021-04-12T01:13:57.709-00:00"