When comparing Ceylon vs ClojureScript, the Slant community recommends Ceylon for most people. In the question“What is the best programming language to learn first?” Ceylon is ranked 35th while ClojureScript is ranked 38th. The most important reason people chose Ceylon is:
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it. The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc. Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Strong static typing, null safe and flexible, almost dynamic type system
The compiler prevents you from using a potentially null variable, unless you check it is not null. Ie. it forces you to check a potentially null value before using it.
The type system is strict, but flexible, allowing union and intersection of types, covariant and contravariant types, reified types, etc.
Type inference and union types allows a dynamic programming style, close of JS spirit.
It brings type safety to JS, allowing to define interfaces to existing JS APIs, yet using the
dynamic keyword for flexible calls in the JS ecosystem.
Pro Excellent IDE support
Ceylon has reified generics, so it doesn't loose the type of collections at runtime. This makes autocompletion, debugging, etc. first-class. The Eclipse plugin makes it a full-fledged Ceylon IDE, and an IntelliJ IDEA plugin is in the works.
Pro Great tutorial
Gavin King, main author of the language, has a great, clear technical writing style, making understandable difficult concepts like variance or sound type system.
Pro Try it out in the browser
It has a Web IDE: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/ with impressive demos: http://try.ceylon-lang.org/?gist=bd41b47f325b6d32514a so you can try it without installing anything, and see the JS generation / interop in action.
Pro Excellent documentation
The language specification is very complete and up to date; also, the language module is very well documented.
Pro Easy to learn even if you don't have prior programming experience
Ceylon is indeed fairly easy and readable. Of course those ones who know OOP and a bit of functional programming concepts will feel almost at home right from the start.
Pro Generate HTML
HTML generation is supported right in the SDK.
Pro Same code in backend and frontend
Pro Live interactive programming with figwheel
Figwheel builds your ClojureScript code and hot loads it into the browser as you are coding! Every time you save your ClojureScript source file, the changes are sent to the browser so that you can see the effects of modifying your code in real time.
Pro Share application logic between browser and Clojure server
Clojure is also able to run web servers, so one can reap similar benefits to NodeJS in terms of sharing code between client and server.
Pro Simple syntax
Lispness makes ClojureScript trivial to comprehend after an initial learning overhead.
Clojure and ClojureScript are designed to be able to interact with their host. So the language by design makes it is easy to use existing JS libraries.
Pro Can be used with React out of the box
Pro The Spec core library
From the creator of Clojure:
Spec is a new core library (Clojure 1.9 and Clojurescript) to support data and function specifications in Clojure.
Writing a spec should enable automatic: Validation, Error reporting, Destructuring, Instrumentation, Test-data generation and Generative test generation.
Pro Excellent build tools
Both Leiningen and Boot are great build tools that manage code dependencies and deployment.
Pro Excellent tools for web development
ClojureScript has superb wrappers around React.js (see Reagent) that make building single-page apps a breeze. With figwheel, it's a web dev experience unlike any other -- hotloaded code, repl interaction, and instantly reflected changes make good development fun and fast. You can add things like Garden to make CSS-writing part of the same holistic experience and suddenly all development is a pleasant, smooth process.
Con Lack of physical or electronic books
We should hope Red Hat or anyone interested would take the time and write one. That would strengthen the maturity of the language, but Ceylon is rapidly developing which can make the author's efforts futile because his or hers work will become obsolete soon.
The second hindrance is, of course, popularity of the language which can't give much to the pockets of the author (however, Dart's unpopularity at start didn't prevent it to have a lot of printed material, but that's Google's child, we know).
Con Currently has large runtime
Ceylon 1.2 needs a language runtime of 1.55 MiB, and the Collection library adds another 370 KiB. That's a lot for the Web...
Now, this has to be put in perspective: if you use Ceylon to make a web application, these files will be loaded once, then cached by the browser (that's not casual browsing).
Moreover, most servers compress such resource, and the numbers become respectively 234 KiB and 54 KiB, which is more reasonable...
Con Syntax may seem cryptic to people not used to Lisp