July 6, 2020

Clojurescript Project Setup


By the end of this post, you will be able to setup a new clojurescript project, setup emacs to be your development environment, and deploy your app to Github Pages


I’ve written two clojurescript projects now, Sundial and DataBooze, and I want to document the set up process. The first time was a massive undertaking because it was my first time. But frustrating enough, so was the second time, even though I thought I nailed down the process and took notes on it. The process didn’t work and the notes don’t exist, so here we are today.


There are only three things you need to start: an editor, a terminal, and leiningen. For me, this means Emacs, bash, and leiningen installed through my package manager.


In your terminal, navigate to where you want the project to live and run

$ lein new figwheel-main my-awesome-project -- --reagent

You should see a new directory called my-awesome-project. There’s a basic skeleton that is created for you, so we want to check that it works

$ cd my-awesome-project
$ lein fig:build

This will compile the clojurescript into javascript, serve the project on (by default) http://localhost:9500, and give you a clojurescript REPL.

If you don’t use emacs, I recommend you leave this REPL open and start editing the code in src/my_awesome_project/core.cljs. If you do use emacs, I recommend setting up CIDER and getting nREPL to work.

First we open emacs and install CIDER

M-x package-refresh-contents [RET]
M-x package-install [RET] cider [RET]

When I run M-x cider-version, I get CIDER 0.26.0-snapshot.

If you haven’t already, kill the REPL we opened from lein fig:build. We’re going to start a new one in emacs.

Open src/my_awesome_project/core.cljs in a buffer. Then run

M-x cider-jack-in-cljs [RET]

A series of prompts will appear, answer with:

  • lein
    • This one most likely will not appear, but I saw it once and the other option was shadow-cljs. I didn’t try to pick shadow-cljs because it just worked when I picked lein
  • figwheel-main
  • dev

This will give you a buffer with output similar to what we got at the terminal. You can edit the code in core.cljs and see the UI reload when you save. More importantly, you can evaluate the clojurescript in your buffer.

Deploying to Github Pages

I’m assuming this would work for Gitlab Pages or Bitbucket Pages, but I use Github and didn’t test those options.

Create a branch called gh-pages. You’ll just need 3 files at the root of your project: index.html, style.css, and main.js. Obviously, the names are up to you, but here’s where I got the files.

index.html is just some boilerplate HTML. Here’s one you can use:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>My title</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css"/>
    <div id="app"></div>
    <script src="main.js"></script>

The important part here is that you have some element with id="app" because that’s how we hook up the javascript to the project. But again, even that is configurable.

To get style.css and main.js, I run these commands at the root of the project

$ lein fig:min
2020-07-06 09:13:50.378:INFO::main: Logging initialized @4805ms to org.eclipse.jetty.util.log.StdErrLog
[Figwheel] Validating figwheel-main.edn
[Figwheel] figwheel-main.edn is valid \()/
[Figwheel] Compiling build dev to "resources/public/cljs-out/dev-main.js"
[Figwheel] Successfully compiled build dev to "resources/public/cljs-out/dev-main.js" in 12.307 seconds.
$ cp resources/public/cljs-out/dev-main.js main.js
$ cp resources/public/css/style.css .

So now you can commit the HTML, CSS, and JS to the gh-pages branch, push, turn on Github Pages deploys in the Settings tab of your repo, and see your live project.

© Andy Lu 2020

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