Saturday, March 28, 2009

clj-record Cleans Up Real Nice


Since clj-record started out as a sandbox for learning about Clojure macros, the project was a bit unstructured. Particularly weird was that the root source directory was the root of the project, so if you put that on your classpath, you also ended up with whatever random stuff was checked in at the top level on your classpath (for example TODO.txt and the script for running tests). That also gave me no good place to put dependencies, so you had to cobble together the right classpath on your own based on the instructions in the README.

I've now twisted the project into something more like a normal library layout. Source is rooted in /src. Dependencies are in /lib. Extra dependencies for running tests are in /test_lib. All this gets pulled together by Ant, which will run tests and spit out clj-record.jar (with ant all).

It was a painful moment starting work on that build.xml. Clojure would be a far better language for the build script—just about any language would be better than xml—but practicality won out: Clojure developers will have Ant installed. It was only a couple minutes before not having a real programming language there was an annoyance, and it will probably happen again. Hopefully once Programming Clojure is published, Stu Holloway will push forward with Lancet and we can all convert our build.xmls into build.cljs before long.

The Ant script also knows how to run a Nailgun server for VimClojure (with ant vim) that will have the source and tests on the classpath. (VimClojure is so badass.)

Certainly there's a lot to be said for the simplicity of just putting a thing on your classpath. You can still do that, just make it the project's /src directory instead of the root. At the moment the jar dependencies are checked into git, which could turn out to be a hassle for those who'd prefer to just put /src on their classpath. I could go to a separate download (as Compojure recently did) to keep the repository light. Let me know what you'd prefer.