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🏖 redelay

A Clojure library for state lifecycle-management using resettable delays, inspired by mount-lite.



With this library you create State objects. Think of them as Clojure's Delay objects, but resettable and tracked. Because of the resetting feature, a State object can take two expressions; a :start expression and a :stop expression. You create State objects using the state macro.

Let's create two State objects first:

(require '[redelay.core :refer [state status stop]])

(def config (state (println "Loading config...")
                   (edn/read-string (slurp "config.edn")))
;=> #'user/config

(def db (state :start  ; <-- optional in this position
               (println "Opening datasource...")
               (hikari/make-datasource (:jdbc @config))

               (println "Closing datasource...")
               (hikari/close-datasource this)))
;=> #'user/db

;=> #<State@247136[user/state--312]: :not-delivered>

(realized? config)
;=> false

There are several things to note here.

  • The :stop expression is optional. Actually, all expressions to state are optional.
  • An expression can consist of multiple forms, wrapped in an implicit do.
  • The first forms to state are considered to be the :start expression, if not qualified otherwise.
  • The :stop expression has access to a this parameter, bound to the State value.
  • You can call realized? on a State object, just like you can on a Delay.

Now let's use our states. Just like a Delay, the first time a State is consulted by a deref (or force), it is realized. This means that the :start expression is executed and its result is cached.

Loading config...
Opening datasource...
;=> org.postgresql.ds.PGSimpleDataSource@267825

;=> org.postgresql.ds.PGSimpleDataSource@267825

(realized? config)
;=> true

You can see that the :start expressions of the states are only executed once. Subsequent derefs return the cached value.

A State implements Java's Closeable, so you could call .close on it. This will execute the :stop expression and clear its cache. Under water however, redelay keeps track of which states are realized and thus active. You can see which states are active by calling (status):

;=> (#<State@247136[user/state--312]: {:jdbc-url "jdbc:postgresql:..."}>
;=>  #<State@329663[user/state--315]: org.postgresql.ds.PGSimpleDataSource@267825>)

Because the active states are tracked, you can easily stop all of them by calling (stop). All the active states are stopped (i.e. closed), in the reverse order of their realization. Afterwards, they are ready again to be realized.

Closing datasource...
;=> (#<State@329663[user/state--315]: :not-delivered>
;=>  #<State@247136[user/state--312]: :not-delivered>)


Next to the :start and :stop expressions, you can also pass a :name to the state macro. This makes recognizing the State objects easier.

(def config (state (load-config) :name user/config))
;=> #'user/config

;=> #<State@19042[user/config]: :not-delivered>

Because it is common to have the name to be equal to the var it is bound to, above can also be written as follows:

(defstate config (load-config))

The defstate macro fully supports metadata on the name, docstrings and attribute maps.


Since state in redelay is handled as first class objects, you can simply use with-redefs to your hearts content. You can redefine "production" states with other states, or even with a plain delay. For example:

(deftest test-in-memory
  (with-redefs [config (delay {:jdbc-url "jdbc:derby:..."})]
    (is (instance? org.apache.derby.jdbc.ClientDataSource @db))))

It might be a good idea to add a fixture to your tests, ensuring (stop) is always called before and/or after a test.


The library is very minimal on purpose. It offers a powerful first class State object and the two basic management functions (status) and (stop). Those two functions are actually implemented using the library's extension point: the watchpoint.

The library contains a public watchpoint var. You can watch this var by using Clojure's add-watch. The registered watch functions receive realized State objects as "new" or a stopped (closed) State object as "old". Using this you can do all kinds of things, such as logging or keeping track of States yourself. Want to have more sophisticated stop logic? Want to have several buckets of states? Go for it. Be creative and make the library fit your perfect workflow!

That's it for simple lifecycle management around the stateful parts of your application. Have fun! 🚀


Copyright © 2020 Functional Bytes

This program and the accompanying materials are made available under the terms of the Eclipse Public License 2.0 which is available at

This Source Code may also be made available under the following Secondary Licenses when the conditions for such availability set forth in the Eclipse Public License, v. 2.0 are satisfied: GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version, with the GNU Classpath Exception which is available at

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