söndag 4 april 2021

Software as building blocks

There seems to be an ongoing trend in software development towards using monorepos. This trend is something I have seen especially in the Clojure community.

Polylith - a monorepo architecture

I like the way Polylith solves how to work with code using a components-first architecture. Similar to LEGO, components are building blocks. A component can be shared across apps, tools, libraries, serverless functions and services.

Read more here: Polylith gitbook

The last architecture you will ever need *

From the Polylith docs:

"... Polylith is a software architecture that applies functional thinking at the system scale. It helps us build simple, maintainable, testable, and scalable backend systems. ..."

Okay, backend systems. What about frontend systems? đŸ€”

I want to Polylith all the things

Is it possible to use the Polylith architecture for a code base that includes web apps? This is something that I have wanted to find out.

Here's my example repo.

In this repo, I’ve added backend Clojure code, frontend ClojureScript and also some glue in between in the form of cljc files. Cljc is Clojure code that can be consumed by both frontend and backend code. This makes it possible to share code across Clojure and ClojureScript, building things just like with LEGO bricks and baseplates.

All the things?

I'll leave the question if ClojureScript and Clojure really should live in the same ecosystem unanswered and hope to get feedback from you. In my example repo, I have put all components in the same place. Should the building blocks be separated somehow, or is it good enough to have both LEGO and DUPLO in the same box? What are your thoughts about it?

Do we still have the Polylith one-REPL experience?

Well, we can have a two-REPLs experience. One for Clojure, that run on top of the JVM, and one for ClojureScript on top of JavaScript. Running both will make REPL driven backend development and Interactive Web Development possible.

You can add and use new ClojureScript components while the REPL is running. Create the namespace and evaluate the function.

There is one thing that I have no solution for (yet). When creating a new ClojureScript component and evaluating the entire namespace at once, I get a compilation error in the ClojureScript REPL: file not on classpath. The ClojureScript REPL have to be restarted to reload new source paths.

But don't worry, you can still evaluate the individual functions in the namespace and they will be loaded as expected in the ClojureScript REPL.

Tooling support

Polylith has a very nice and useful tool to support creating building blocks and to verify the setup. You can create components, bases and projects - as long as it is Clojure. For ClojureScript, you will have to create components manually.

If you are lazy, like me, just create a component with the poly tool as you would for Clojure, and simply rename the file extension to cljs or cljc afterwards.

Editor support?

Your editor most likely has support for running both Clojure and ClojureScript simultaneously. Emacs is my favourite editor. Start the REPLs with the cider-jack-in-clj&cljs command and you're ready to go!

Two REPLS running (even though the Cider splash message is confusing)

* The quote is from Joakim Tengstrands and Furkan Bayraktars talk about Polylith at the FuncProg Sweden 2020 meetup.

Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

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