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ClojureScript bindings for Spotify Web API with retries and blocking mode.


To display your Spotify user ID, run the code below:

(require '[cljs.core.async :refer [<! go]]
         '[tuneberry.core :refer [tuneberry]]
         '[tuneberry.users :as u])

(def token "<OAuth 2.0 Spotify access token>")
(def tb (tuneberry token))
(go (prn (:id (<! (u/get-current-user-profile tb)))))

If by any chance you don't have a valid OAuth 2.0 access token for Spotify Web API in your clipboard, Tuneberry test runner has been adapted to help you get through this painful process in minutes.

Tuneberry is a collection of functions that wrap Spotify Web API endpoints and return a core.async channel from which you can take an endpoint's response. The response is a JSON object turned into a ClojureScript (nested) map, where JSON keys are turned into keywords[^1].

Since get-current-user-profile is a wrapper around the Get Current User's Profile endpoint, we get the Spotify user ID simply by calling :id on the response.

[!NOTE] Production configurations require token refreshing and are covered in one of the later sections.

Passing Spotify API parameters

With Tuneberry, you pass url query string parameters as regular key-value pairs.

In the example below, we display the track listing for Katie Melua's album Love and Money using parameters q (search query) and type of the Search for Item endpoint:

(require '[ :refer [search]]
         '[clojure.pprint :refer [pprint]])

(go (let [res (<! (search tb
                          :q "artist:Katie Melua album:Love and Money"
                          :type "track"))]
      (pprint (->> (get-in res [:tracks :items])
                   (sort-by :track_number)
                   (map (juxt :track_number :uri :name))))))

...which should give an output similar to the one below:

([1 "spotify:track:4xuxjqgOKjquDbuKDy1hto" "Golden Record"]
 [2 "spotify:track:7vKMYuPq6wqU4Le5AR9Kit" "Quiet Moves"]
 [3 "spotify:track:0maYSd1pQFI4Ody2toTDxx" "14 Windows"]
 [4 "spotify:track:2eW1Axi6Ruo5OtqOA6SzWO" "Lie In the Heat"]
 [5 "spotify:track:1L6AqrUhtUH3qTV6ImvTNw" "Darling Star"]
 [6 "spotify:track:4GJerh35GCooDcZXQHc2x3" "Reefs"]
 [7 "spotify:track:4MgSTJHFsjayq60GASHru0" "First Date"]
 [8 "spotify:track:17Jrz3JIr9PDN4IEW3wSYw" "Pick Me Up"]
 [9 "spotify:track:53OWCM7g2k2Ol42ykqvOwF" "Those Sweet Days"]
 [10 "spotify:track:69puCjWb1rrocZBah5s3GR" "Love & Money"])

Body parameters should be explicitly marked with the namespace b/[^2]. To relax a bit, let's play one of the above tracks using the endpoint Start/Resume Playback:

(require '[tuneberry.player :as p])

(let [lie-in-the-heat "spotify:track:2eW1Axi6Ruo5OtqOA6SzWO"]
  (p/start-or-resume-playback tb :b/uris [lie-in-the-heat]))

Make sure that you have Spotify player running on at least one of your devices, otherwise the experience may not be entirely relaxing.

[!NOTE] Thanks to improvements added in Clojure/Script 1.11, you can also specify keyword arguments as a single map:

(search tb {:q "artist:Katie Melua album:Love and Money"
             :type "track"})

Setting Tuneberry options

Tuneberry options configure various library features, such as error suppression or blocking mode.

They are kept inside the tuneberry object and may be specified during its creation:

(def berry (tuneberry token {:blocking true, :smart false, :max-retry 5}))

Unspecified options are set to their default values, if such exist (see table below).

The tuneberry object is passed around to all API-calling functions as the sole source of configuration. However, if you want to quickly add or change an option for a single API call, you may put it in the o/ namespace.

Below we use this method to locally disable the :smart postprocessing option and receive a full http response map (not just the http body containing the actual endpoint response):

(require '[clojure.pprint :refer [pprint]]
         '[tuneberry.users :as u])

(go (pprint (<! (u/get-current-user-profile tb :o/smart false))))
{:status          200,
 :success         true,
 :body            {:id "artbookspirit", ...},
 :headers         {...},
 :trace-redirects [...],
 :error-code      :no-error,
 :error-text      ""}

Detailed descriptions of the features can be found in later sections.

Options list

OptionDefault valueDescription
:api-url prefix of all Spotify Web API endpoints.
:blockingfalseTurns on blocking mode.
:max-poll5The maximum number of polls in blocking mode.
:poll-delays-fn(100 200 400 ...)Returns a lazy sequence of wait intervals between successive polls in blocking mode.
:retry[500 502 503]A list of retry criteria or false/nil to disable retries.
:max-retry3The maximum number of retries.
:retry-delays-fn(500 1000 2000 ...)Returns a lazy sequence of wait intervals between successive retries.
:smarttrueTurns on the smart mode.
:selN/ATurns on the :sel postprocessing.
:sel-checktrueSpecifies whether to return an error if the path passed with :sel returns nil.
:postN/ATurns on the :post postprocessing.
:post-checktrueSpecifies whether to return an error if the function passed with :post returns nil.

Error handling

All API functions return a core.async channel which eventually contains:

  • http response body on request success,
  • an ExceptionInfo object on request failure.

Errors may come from a variety of sources, such as:

[!NOTE] ExceptionInfo is a subclass of js/Error that allows you to easily convey any extra information in the form of a plain ClosureScript map. The lack of neccessity to create a custom error class hierarchy means wun[^3] less problem with JavaScript intricacies.

Below we try to read a non-existent key sequence from the API response:

(require '[tuneberry.player :as p])

  (let [e (<! (p/get-available-devices tb :o/sel [:foo :bar]))]
    (prn e)))

The result is an ExceptionInfo holding the failed key sequence and the original API response within its data property:

{:message "no response path",
 :data    {:response {:devices
                      [{:id                 "39ee...",
                        :is_active          false,
                        :is_private_session false,
                        :is_restricted      false,
                        :name               "cuckoo",
                        :supports_volume    true,
                        :type               "Computer",
                        :volume_percent     100}]},
           :path     [:foo :bar]}}

Throwing exceptions with <?

To avoid checking each API function response for ExceptionInfo, you can employ the Tuneberry's version of the commonly used <? macro[^4].

<? works exactly like <! except that if the value from the channel turns out to be an instance of js/Error, it immediately throws it. This allows you to use a regular try/catch in the context of asynchronous channels.

The following short program, inspired by the fact that we still have at hand a track listing for Katie Melua's album, checks if there is any Katie's song in the playback queue and adds one if there isn't one already.

(require '[tuneberry.core :refer [<?]]
         '[tuneberry.player :as p])

    (let [queue (<? (p/get-user-queue tb))
          artists (->> queue
                       (mapcat :artists)
                       (map :name)
          quiet-moves "spotify:track:7vKMYuPq6wqU4Le5AR9Kit"]
      (when (not (contains? artists "Katie Melua"))
        (<? (p/add-item-to-playback-queue tb :uri quiet-moves))
        (println "Quiet Moves added!")))
    (catch js/Error e
      (println "Error caught:" (ex-message e)))))

You can check that it handles errors correctly by adding something like :o/api-url "" to any of the API function calls and observing the message:

Error caught: HTTP 404: Service not found


Blocking mode

For many commands with side effects, the Spotify API works in a manner that can be named non-synchronous or non-blocking. It seems that a 2XX status code is returned by such endpoints as soon as an action has been accepted for execution, not when the related changes have actually appeared in the system.

For example:

Such an API design has its advantages, increasing API's responsiveness and reducing the server load. However, there are cases, like when using the player endpoints, where we want to know the moment when a given action has taken effect.

Suppose we are writing an application to rate songs. We don't want to show the user an active panel to enter a rating until we are sure that the song currently selected by the application (and not the previous one) is already playing. In many situations like that it is better to update the UI a little later, if it guarantees that it will be synchronized with the state of the player.

Blocking mode is implemented by polling: for a given API function with side effects, another API endpoint is called in a loop (with backoffs) to probe the system's state. The result isn't put into the returned channel until the state meets a specific condition.

For example, for tuneberry.player/pause-playback polling continues until tuneberry.player/get-playback-state returns is_playing as false (or the maximum number of attempts is reached). Reactive code waiting on the returned channel may fire a bit later, but never before the actual pause.

Blocking mode is disabled by default. It follows the zero-overhead principle known from C++: You don't pay for what you don't use, because the number of requests a Spotify application can send is subject to rate limits. However, it can save a lot of work by performing checks that would be placed in the application code anyway.

To enable the blocking mode, simply call:

(tuneberry token :blocking true)

If a given function supports the blocking mode, the release conditions can be found in its description.

See also :max-poll and :poll-delays-fn in the options list.


If an API function fails due to an http error, Tuneberry retries the failed call using simple preconfigured retry criteria and backoff strategy.

The :retry option contains a list of retry criteria, each being one of:

  • a number n that must equal the http response status code for such criterion to be met,
  • a vector [n re] where, in addition, a regular expression re needs to match a substring of the error message, taken from the http body.

If any of the criteria is satisfied, a failed API function call is be retried up to :max-retry times. After that, another ExceptionInfo object with message retry limit reached is returned.

[!NOTE] The API function is repeated in its entirety, also when it consists of more than one http request, e.g. the actual API request and a number of polling requests in blocking mode.

[!IMPORTANT] See below how to make token refresh errors also cause API functions' retries.

For illustrative purposes, let's break the access token, enable retries for the 401 response code and show the result of reaching the retry limit:

  '[cljs.core.async :refer [<! go]]
  '[tuneberry.core :refer [tuneberry]]
  '[tuneberry.player :as p])

  (let [tb (tuneberry "not-a-token")
        retry-criteria [500 502 503 [401 #"(?i)invalid.+token"]]
        e (<! (p/get-playback-state tb :o/retry retry-criteria))]
    (println "message:" (ex-message e))
    (println "number of attempts:" (-> e ex-data :nr-attempts))
    (println "last result message:" (-> e ex-data :last-result ex-message))))
message: retry limit reached
number of attempts: 4
last result message: HTTP 401: Invalid access token

If you want to disable retries altogether, set :retry to false or nil.

The backoff strategy is configured as the :retry-delays-fn function that retrns a lazy sequence of wait intervals between successive retries.

By default, it is binary exponential backoff with the initial interval of 500 ms. That means Tuneberry will pause for 500 ms before the first retry, 1000 ms before the second, 2000 ms before the third, and so on... Before the 31st retry, it will pause for about 17 years, which should be enough for Spotify dev team to bring back the service, if you only set :max-retry adequately.

Error suppression

If you try to either:

Spotify Web API will respond with an 403 error saying: Player command failed: Restriction violated.

It is doubtful that the described situation is an error at all, and handling the related exception in the application code may be cumbersome.

For this reason:

  1. Tuneberry does not wrap these errors with an ExceptionInfo object,
  2. the <? macro does not throw an exception,
  3. as the http body is normally returned, you can still check whether the Spotify API returned an error or not (no one will ever need it for anything).

Postprocessing with :smart, :sel and :post

These options specify the final transformations performed on the result map.

The :smart option returns for successful API calls only the http body, containing the actual endpoint response. Since in the absence of errors the complete http response map (see example) is usually not needed, :smart is enabled by default.

The :sel option performs get-in on the API response using the given key sequence. Being able to return only the parts of the response we are interested in often results in cleaner code. Suppose we want to access several properties of a single recording:

(require '[tuneberry.core :refer [<?]]
         '[ :refer [search]])

(go (let [album (<? (search tb
                            :q "artist:Katie Melua album:Love and Money"
                            :type "album"
                            :o/sel [:albums :items 0]))]
      (println "name:" (:name album))
      (println "release_date:" (:release_date album))
      (println "total_tracks:" (:total_tracks album))))
name: Love & Money
release_date: 2023-03-24
total_tracks: 10

A variant without :sel would require an extra local binding:

album (get-in res [:albums :items 0])

or the use of get-in in a single expression together with search and <?, which obfuscates the code to a great extent.

Since we usually use key sequences that always exist and contain some data, an error is returned when the sequence passed to :sel returns nil (see example in Error handling). This can be disabled by setting the :sel-check option to false.

The :post option is very similar to :sel, except that it allows you to specify any mapping function that will be executed on the API response (see Options list).

Setups with token refresh

The Quickstart section shows that the first parameter of the tuneberry function (token-src) can be a string containing an OAuth 2.0 access token. This allows you to quickly test the library in the REPL, but it is not suitable for a production setup.

In production configurations, token-src should be a token function that returns a core.async channel containing a valid OAuth 2.0 access token for Spotify Web API. The token function is called before each use of the Spotify API and is expected to read the access token from a secure location. If the access token has expired, it should be refreshed before returning and safely stored back.

The access token can be obtained and refreshed using several OAuth flows, as described on the Spotify Web API Authorization page. Tuneberry is tested with the most reliable Authorization Code with PKCE, but should also work with other OAuth flows (if not, please let me know).

The builder function below called make-token-fn creates a token function that is used in Tuneberry tests:

(defn make-token-fn [client-id access-token]
  (let [token (atom access-token)]
    (fn []
        (when (token-expired? @token)
          (reset! token (<! (refresh-access-token
                              {:client-id     client-id
                               :refresh-token (:refresh_token @token)}))))
        (:access_token @token)))))

make-token-fn function accepts Spotify app Client ID needed for token refreshing together with an access token map obtained via the PKCE authorization, containing keys such as:

  • :access_token for Spotify Web API access,
  • :expires_in to check whether the access token has expired,
  • :refresh_token used in the refresh request.

The map (you can see an example at the end of the Testing section) is stored in the token atom where it can be refreshed by the returned token function each time the access token turns out to be expired.

For Tuneberry tests we don't need a "secure location" other than memory, but in production setups you will probably want to securely persist the access token map on disk or in a database.

Using the above builder is pretty straightforward:

(tuneberry (make-token-fn client-id access-token))

It is assumed that the access token returned by the token function will give access to the set of scopes required by the user. As with token lifetimes, Tuneberry intentionally does not control authorization scopes explicitly.

Token refresh errors and retries

Http errors are wrapped by Tuneberry with an ExceptionInfo object containing special keys :http-status and :http-message in its data map, e.g.:

{:message "HTTP 404: Service not found",
 :data    {:http-status  404,
           :http-message "Service not found",
           :cause        ...}}

Only if :http-status is present, the given ExceptionInfo is identified as an http error for which the retry criteria are checked (where n and re are compared with :http-status and :http-message, respectively).

If you want token refresh errors to trigger retries, they must be returned by the token function as such ExceptionInfo objects, containing at least :http-status in the data map (:http-message is optional).

If needed, also additional criteria must be added to :retry.


Tuneberry tests include both unit tests and online integration tests with Spotify Web API. They run in the browser using the Shadow CLJS test runner generated for the :browser-test test target.

The runner has been modified with the custom namespace tuneberry.test.runner so that it performs the authorization code PKCE flow to obtain an access token used by tests to make API calls.

Since the access token is displayed in the web console, it can be easily copied and used elsewhere, e.g. in the REPL.


To run the tests you will need:

Creating a Spotify app is rather quick: see the official guidelines. For the authentication flow to work correctly, you need to enter

as the Redirect URI, which is the address of the Shadow CLJS test runner locally on your computer.

Running the tests

To compile the tests and run the local test server, enter the Tuneberry's root directory and execute:

npx shadow-cljs watch test

After you see the Build complete message in your terminal, open the browser and type<Client ID>

into the URL bar, where Client ID is your Spotify app's client id. This is because the test runner needs to know on behalf of which application it will request the access token. The client id will be stored in the browser's local storage, so it only needs to be entered once.

[!WARNING] Tuneberry tests modify the state of the Spotify player:

  • turn off shuffle,
  • remove and add random tracks to the playback queue,
  • play tracks.

Of course it's not harmful in any way, but make sure you're ok with it before running the tests.

If everything went well, you will be redirected to the Spotify login page and then asked to authorize scopes required by the tests.

After you agree, the tests will be launched and their results displayed in the browser window.

To get the newly received access token, open the web console, look for a message similar to the one below and copy :access_token from it:

Received access token:
{:access_token "<OAuth 2.0 access token for Spotify Web API>",
 :token_type "Bearer",
 :expires_in 3600,
 :refresh_token "...",
 :scope "user-modify-playback-state ...",
 :expires_at ...}

Getting a REPL

After executing npx shadow-cljs watch test and opening in the browser, in a different terminal run:

shadow-cljs cljs-repl test

It's good to keep the web console open for logs and network errors.


Copyright (C) 2023 Piotr Bartosik

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.

[^1]: Tuneberry returns modified result maps from cljs-http.

[^2]: Tuneberry follows a strategy to stand between the user and the API as little as possible, so it does not decide which parameters are to be sent in which way.

[^3]: An inside joke for those familiar with very opinionated yet truly enlightening books by Douglas Crockford.

[^4]: See for example:

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