Things to know Before starting your app with ClojureScript

By: Kannan Ramamoorthy On: Mon 22 August 2022
In: Dev
Tags: #Language Choice #ClojureScript

This blog is to capture some lessons that someone is expected to know before starting their application with ClojureScript.

Though, I eventually ended up scrapping the work and decided to start with Next Js, it could help people to decide when they are in the same situation as mine.


I picked up Clojure a while back and for various reasons I love Clojure(will explain in another blog post).

And for recently for one of our product, I decided to develop the front end in ClojureScript.

Before going further, here’s the context,

  • We’re a small team, and I’m the only person who is interested in Clojure and intended to do Clojure.

  • I have never used Clojure for any serious applications in the past.

  • I have never done any serious front-end work in the past 10 years or so.

  • I have partially been through the Learn re-frame course by Jacek Shae.

  • I was working in a client project, so I couldn’t spend more than 10hrs/week for this.

Since I haven’t completed the journey of making it in Clojurescript. I would refrain from sharing the journey, rather share the lessons alone.


  • The course was indeed decent to get a mental model of the re-agent framework and how to structure your app.

  • ClojureScript majorly has 2 build tools, Shadow-Cljs and FigWheel-main. Shadow-cljs is most widely used.

  • If you’re using Cursive, Shadow-cljs is not understood by cursive, and you have to work-around by having a pom file side-by-side and having it updated.

  • You’ll have to maintain both package.json and dependency definition based on the CLJS build tool you use. Because there are CLJS dependencies that are coming as Clojars and JS dependencies that are coming from "node modules" via package.json.

  • If you’re using Cursive, dependencies that are coming from package.json will not be resolved.

  • Considering the dependency resolution issues mentioned above, it’s better to go with VS Code + Calva Or Atom + Proto REPL.

  • Shadow-cljs doesn’t resolve jars coming from cljsjs. You’ll have to use the respective dependency from package.json. Per se this is not an issue, but when you’re using Cursive, you’ll lose the ability to resolve dependencies for IDE because of the issue mentioned above.

  • You cannot debug your Cljs application, though repl can be useful to some extent.

  • When you have to work through existing React examples and if you want to convert the example/template into re-agent components, jsx-to-clojurescript might be useful to some extent. Though, it has a lot of bugs and limited in translation capability.

Though the tooling eco-system is still evolving, there are a lot of companies using CLJS, would love to hear from people on how they are getting around these issues.

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