IN/Clojure 2024 and a struggling community in India

March 23, 2024

Ah, Clojure. A language introduced to me by nilenso.

For those of you who don’t know, here is a quick wiki description of the language with a hello world example:

Clojure (/ˈkloʊʒər/, like closure) is a dynamic and functional
dialect of the Lisp programming language on the Java platform.

Hello world example:

(println "hello world" (+ 2 4)) gives the output of hello world 6

When I joined nilenso, I didn’t know that I was going to fall in love with Clojure so deeply and so quickly. Although, I haven’t yet gotten a chance to deploy Clojure in production, but my 4ish months of nilenso onboarding was enough to open my eyes to a whole new world of programming. And I am not alone in this, Clojure has a whole cult behind it powered by Rich Hickey talks but sadly….it’s a dying cult.

A snippet of opening notes given by Steven Deobald

Opening Keynote by Steven Deobald (

Companies and individuals are moving away from Clojure. Due to its steep learning curve, they find it difficult to train new hires → maintain existing codebases → leading to rewrite of Clojure codebases to more popular languages like Golang, JavaScript, etc.

This was evident at IN/Clojure 2024 as it was the first Clojure conference in India after the pandemic and after the last IN/Clojure in 2019. It will take some time to cold-start this community again.

It is also evident by the number of available Clojure projects and unsurprisingly, there aren’t many. Whatever projects there are, most of them are either being re-written or are in maintenance mode. From talking to people at the conference, nobody is building anything new.

The lack of fresh Clojure talent has created a niche space for people and consultancies to charge $$$$ to train or maintain codebases but I doubt it will last. Even if all Clojure projects die away, I think the Clojurists will be fine; they are a talented bunch who can adapt and thrive. But they won’t be a cult or a cohesive community anymore.

Maybe there are projects or companies outside India that are actively developing new things in Clojure. I can maybe think of Metabase and Cognitect.

IN/Clojure had some good talks which gave me hope for the ecosystem. For example, Akshat talked about a new background processing library he developed and Vedang talked about all the new things he has been using to boost his dev productivity. Maybe there is a silver lining here after all.