When comparing Clojure vs Kotlin, the Slant community recommends Clojure for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Clojure is ranked 12th while Kotlin is ranked 20th. The most important reason people chose Clojure is:
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default. State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
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Pro Immutability is the default
Clojure programmers are highly encouraged to use immutable data in their code. Therefore, most data will be immutable by default.
State change is handled by functions (for transformations) and atoms (an abstraction that encapsulates the idea of some entity having an identity).
Pro Minimal syntax
Being a LISP, programs are simple: they're just functions and data. That it doesn't get bogged down with syntax or the loftier FP concepts like monads makes it one of most approachable functional languages for beginners.
Pro Tries to solve problems as simply as possible
Simplicity is one of the pillars on which Clojure is built. Clojure tries to solve many problems in software development as simply as possible. Instead of building complex interfaces, objects or factories, it uses immutability and simple data structures.
Pro Good for writing concurrent programs
Since Clojure is designed for concurrency, it offers things like Software Transaction Memory, functional programming without side-effects and immutable data structures right out of the box. This means that the development team can focus their energies on developing features instead of concurrency details.
Pro Huge ecosystem of libraries to work with
There's a very large ecosystem of high-quality Clojure libraries which developers can use. One example is Incanter. It's a great data analytics library and a very powerful tool for dealing with matrices, datasets and csv files.
Pro Cross platform
Clojure compiles to JVM bytecode and runs inside the JVM. This means that applications written in Clojure are cross-platform out of the box.
Pro Rich Hickey
The creator is so awesome, he's a feature. Just look up his talks and see why.
Pro Great tool used in automating, configuring and managing dependencies available
Leiningen is a very useful tool for Clojure developers. It helps wiht automation, configuration and dependency management. It's basically a must for every Clojure project.
Pro Dynamic language
A superb data processing language. While rich type and specification systems are available they are optional.
Clojure has an elegant macro system which enables language additions, Domain-specific languages (DSLs), to be created much easier than most other languages (with the exception of Racket, perhaps).
Pro Game is available with which you can learn Clojure
Nightmod is a tool used to make "live-moddable" games. It displays the game's code while you are playing and allows you to inject new code using Clojure. This can be a fun and useful experience for people trying to learn Clojure.
Pro No C/Java syntax
Pro Great tooling support
Since Kotlin is made by Jetbrains (the developers of IntelliJ IDEA) so it stands to reason that the IntelliJ support for Kotlin is also great. Besides that, Kotlin also works well with existing Java tools such as Eclipse, Maven, Gradle, Android Studio, etc...
Pro Easy adoption for existing Java programmers
Kotlin runs on the JVM and Java interoperability has been one of the main objectives since the language was born. It runs everywhere Java does; web servers, mobile devices (Android), and desktop applications. It also works with all the major tools in the Java ecosystem like Eclipse, IntelliJ, Maven, Ant, Gradle, Spring Boot, etc.
All of this makes adoption extremely easy even for existing Java projects. On top of this there's also ensured Type safety and less boilerplate code needed.
Pro Easy to learn if you have prior programming experience
Kotlin's syntax is extremely easy to understand. The language can be picked up in a few hours just by reading the language reference.
Pro No runtime overhead
The standard library is relatively small and tight. It mostly consists of focused extensions of the Java standard library and as such adds no additional runtime overhead to existing Java projects.
Pro Officially supported for Android development
Starting with version 3.0 of Android Studio, Kotlin support will be built-in. This means that it's now easier than ever to use Kotlin for existing Android projects or even start writing Android apps only with Kotlin from scratch.
This also means that Kotlin and Kotlin plugins for Android Studio will be fully supported in the future and their likelihood of being abandoned is quite small since Google is fully embracing the language for their Android ecosystem (alongside Java and C++).
Pro Low-risk adoption for existing Java codebases
Since it has such a good interoperability with Java, Java libraries, and Java tools. It can be adopted for an existing Java codebase at little to no cost. The codebase can be converted from Java to Kotlin little by little without ever disrupting the functionality of the application itself.
Pro Does not impose a particular philosophy of programming
It's not overly OOP like Java and it does not enforce strict functional paradigms either.
Pro Is built to solve industrial problems
Kotlin has been designed and built by developers who have an industrial background and not an academic one. As such, it tries to solve issues mostly found in industrial settings. For example, the Kotlin type system helps developers avoid null pointer exceptions. Reasearch languages usually do not have
null at all, but APIs and large codebases usually need
Con Confusing error messages
Clojure's error messages more often than not are very confusing. They usually involve stack traces that do not thoroughly explain where the error was caused or what caused it.
Con Tied to the JVM and it's limitations.
Some language constructs were obviously created as workarounds for JVM limitations. This makes the language much less elegant than it could have been.
Also, the JVM has a very cumbersome FFI.
Con Dynamic types
You can put anything in. This makes reasoning about code after a time has passed very hard.
Con Syntax can be alien / jarring for those used to other Lisps
Perhaps some may consider this attribute an advantage, but I do not. Clojure does not attempt to maintain significant compatibility with other Lisps. So, if you already know a Lisp or are used to the way Lisp works in general, you'll probably be confused if you take a look at Clojure. See these resources for more details on this subject:
Con May be hard for programmers already used to imperative style to learn functional programming from Kotlin
Since Kotlin does not enforce any particular paradigms and is not purely functional, it can be pretty easy to fall back to imperative programming habits if a programmer comes from an imperative background.
Con The need for Java interoperability has forced some limitations
The need to make Kotlin interoperable with Java has caused some unintuitive limitations to the language design.