When comparing Pharo vs Clojure, the Slant community recommends Clojure for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Clojure is ranked 17th while Pharo is ranked 31st. 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).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
In Pharo everything is an object. Compiler - object, network - object, method - also an object. And objects communicate with messages. No operators, no control-flow statements. Just objects and messages. Few things to learn, but you can learn OOP well.
Pro Easily learnt
There is good, free documentation including several books written by experts with extensive examples. There is an online MOOC. There are many tutorial videos. Supportive conferences and community. Even a professional support option if desired.
Pro Live updates
The nature of Pharo being a "live" environment allows you to perform live updates to your system without requiring to restart it. You can upgrade/modify classes while serving requests at the same time.
Pro Highly productive
The framework for developing sophisticated web applications in Smalltalk is developed in Pharo. Seaside lets you build highly interactive web applications quickly, reusably and maintainably.
Pro Remote debugging
Pro Beautiful coding patterns in your IDE
No need to search google for compact beautiful examples of how to do things, your live environment source is available and you can easily live search, see how it works and copy how the masters would do it (examples most languages still copy too).
Pro Glamorous toolkit & GTInspector
Most languages are still copying the Smalltalk tools of yesterday - GTInspector (written in Glamorous) takes live exploration of code/running objects to a new level. It's really slick, and better yet, you can easily write your own inspectors in 10 lines of code.
Pro Code can be run on rock solid GemStone environment
Pro 64 bit support as of Pharo 7
Use 32 bit or 64 bit versions of Pharo on Windows, Mac & Linux
Pro Advanced code analysis tools
MOOSE environment provides extensive, easily leveraged and class leading tools for code analysis and improvement.
Pro Can run headless for production
Pro Really simple networking and REST with Zinc
Pro Graphics, graphing and visualisation framework - Roassal
Roassal and Mondrian provide fantastic and easily used frameworks for graphics, graphing and advanced visualisations (comparable to D3.js) but with much less code. Visualisations can be rendered into web friendly graphics (SVG, .png etc.) without additional work.
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 Dynamic language
A superb data processing language. While rich type and specification systems are available they are optional.
Pro Rich Hickey
The creator is so awesome, he's a feature. Just look up his talks and see why.
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 No C/Java syntax
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 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.
Con Small community
But they are very friendly and supportive. Best help comes through the mailing lists so not always easily googlable. There is also a Slack community where help is nearly instantaneous.
Con Single threaded
Pharo's VM only ever uses one CPU core. If you want to write code that uses more than one CPU core, you need to jump through hoops such as running multiple VMs and synchronising your data.
Con No stable 64 bit VM on Windows yet (work-in-progress)
64 bit support is on its way for Windows (experimental). Pharo 7 has 64 bit support for Mac and Linux as of Pharo 7.
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 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 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.