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Active Clojure

A library with various basic utilities for programming with Clojure.

Clojars Project Build Status

Breaking changes since version 0.28.0

  • Clojure version 1.9.0 or higher and Clojurescript version 1.9.542 or higher are required.
  • The namespace of ClojureScript's define-record-type has changed from active.clojure.record to active.clojure.cljs.record.
  • To make sure that the right active-clojure version gets picked up by Leiningen, you should exclude previous active-clojure that are included in the dependencies transitively by adding :exclusions [active-clojure] to libraries that come with the dependency. When in doubt, check lein deps :why active-clojure.
  • Since selectors are now lenses by default, the previously used "lens triples" are no longer valid. You need to remove the parens and the third element and use the selector instead of the name of the lens everywhere in your code.



The active.clojure.record namespace implements a define-record-type form similar to Scheme's SRFI 9.

Example: A card consists of a number and a color

(ns namespace
  (:require [active.clojure.record :as r]))

(r/define-record-type Card
  (make-card number color)
  [number card-number
   color card-color])

;; Creating a record with field values 3 and "hearts"
(def card-1 (make-card 3 "hearts"))
;; Get number of this card via selector
(card-number card-1)
;; => 3
;; Predicate test
(card? card-1)
;; => true
(card? "3 of Hearts")
;; => false


You can provide additional options in an option-map as second argument to define-record-type.


By providing a value to the option key :spec, a spec for the record type is created. The fields of records can also be "spec'd" via meta information.

(spec/def ::color #{:diamonds :hearts :spades :clubs})

(defn is-valid-card-number?
  (and (int? n)
       (> n 0) (< n 14)))

(r/define-record-type Card
  {:spec ::card}
  (make-card number color)
  [^{:spec is-valid-card-number?} number card-number
   ^{:spec ::color} color card-color])

(spec/valid? ::card (make-card 5 :hearts))
;; => true
(spec/valid? ::card (make-card 5 "hearts"))
;; => false
(spec/explain ::card (make-card 5 "hearts"))
;; => val: #namespace.Card{:number 124, :color "hearts"} fails spec: :namespace/card
;;    predicate: (valid? :namespace/color (card-color %))

To use spec/def, spec/valid?, and spec/explain you have to require clojure.spec.alpha in your ns form.

You also get a spec for the constructor function. If instrumentation is enabled (via clojure.spec.test.alpha/instrument), the constructor is checked using the specs provided for the selector functions:

;; Does not get checked without instrument.
(make-card 20 :hearts)
;; => #namespace.Card{:number 20 :color :hearts}

;; Now, with instrumentation.

(make-card 20 :hearts)
;; => Spec assertion failed.
;; Spec: #object[clojure.spec.alpha$regex_spec_impl$reify__2436 0x31346221
;; "clojure.spec.alpha$regex_spec_impl$reify__2436@31346221"]
;; Value: (20 :hearts)
;; Problems:
;; val: 20
;; in: [0]
;; failed: is-valid-card-number?
;; at: [:args :number]

Non generative option

If you provide a value (uid) to the nongenerative option, the record-creation operation is nongenerative i.e., a new record type is created only if no previous call to define-record-type was made with the uid. Otherwise, an error is thrown. If uid is true, a uuid is created automatically. If this option is not given (or value is falsy), the record-creation operation is generative, i.e., a new record type is created even if a previous call to define-record-type was made with the same arguments.

Arrow constructor

Default is true.

If you provide the key:val pair :arrow-constructor?:false, the creation of the arrow-constructor of the defrecord call is omitted, i.e.

(define-record-type Test {:arrow-constructor? false} (make-test a) ...)

won't yield a function ->Test.

Map protocol

Default is true.

If you don't want your records to implement the Map-protocols (in Clojure these are java.util.Map and clojure.lang.IPersistentMap, in ClojureScript IMap and IAssociative), you can provide the key:val pair :map-protocol?:false to the options map.

Remove default interfaces/protocols

There are a number of interfaces, that our records defaultly implement (like e.g. aforementioned java.util.Map). Providing key:val pair :remove-interfaces:[interface1 interface2 ...] will prevent the implementations of the given interfaces.

Providing own implementations of interfaces and protocols

You can implement protocols and interfaces with the define-record-type-statement:

(defprotocol SaySomething
  (say [this]))

(r/define-record-type Card
  (make-card number color)
  [number card-number
   color card-color]
  (say [this] (str "The card's color is " (card-color this))))

(say (make-card 3 :hearts))

You can also override the defaultly implemented interfaces/protocols by the same means. You don't have to provide every method of a default interface, those left out by you will remain the default ones.

Java Class

Default is true.

If you provide the key:val pair :java-class?:false, no java class is created for the given type, and instead a record-type-descriptor is created.

RTD record

If you provide the key:val pair :rtd-record?:true, an own record implementation for ClojureScript is used instead of defrecord.

Meta data

You can provide meta data via (define-record-type ^{:foo "bar"} MyRecord). This meta data is then "inherited" to all created symobls (like ->MyRecord).

If you use an RTD record (:java-class?, :rtd-record? options), this data is retrievable via (MyRecord :meta).


The active.clojure.lens namespace implements lenses. Lenses provide a subtle way to access and update the elements of a structure and are well-known in functional programming languages.

Records example

If you want to update only one field in a record, it is cumbersome to write out the whole make-constructor expression:

(r/define-record-type Person
  [name person-name
   age person-age
   address person-address
   job person-job])

(def mustermann (make-person "Max Mustermann" 35 "Hechinger Straße 12/1, 72072 Tübingen"
                             "Software Architect"))

(make-person "Max Maier"
             (person-age mustermann)
             (person-address mustermann)
             (person-job mustermann))

With lenses you can set and update fields easily:

(lens/shove mustermann
            "Max Maier")

(lens/overhaul mustermann

Note: The lens functions don't alter the given record but create and return a new one.

You can even combine lenses to update records inside records:

(r/define-record-type Address
  [street address-street
   number address-number
   city address-city
   postalcode address-postalcode])

(def mustermann (make-person "Max Mustermann" 35
                             (make-address "Hechinger Strasse" "12/1"
                                           "Tübingen" 72072)
                             "Software Architect"))

(lens/shove mustermann
            (lens/>> person-address address-street)
            "Hechinger Straße")


The active.clojure.condition namespace implements conditions, specifically crafted exception objects that form a protocol for communicating the cause of an exception, similar to the condition system in R6RS Scheme.


The active.clojure.config namespace implements application configuration via a big map.


The active.clojure.debug namespace implements some useful debugging tools such as a macro pret that prints and returns its argument.

Pattern Matching

The active.clojure.match namespace provides some syntactic sugar for map matching around core.match.

Higher-order Functions

The active.clojure.functions namespace provides the same higher order functions that clojure.core does, but implemented via records and IFn, so that the returned "functions" are = if created with = arguments.

These can be very handy for using React-based libraries like Reacl, which can optimize work based on the equality of values.


An example usage of the active.clojure.monad namespace can be found at



The Clojure tests can be executed via

lein test

For auto-testing the ClojureScript code, we use figwheel-main. In a terminal, do

lein fig

which starts a CLJS REPL. Opening


in a browser window will then run the tests and display the results. After every code change, it will automatically reload and re-run the tests, notifying you via the browser of the result.


Copyright © 2014-2019 Active Group GmbH

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.

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