Getting started with linters

I’ve never used Linters before but now find myself managing teams of [student] developers learning Clojure, and this seems like a great way to maintain code quality (and get my own code etiquette in gear, too). What are some recommendations for Clojure linting software and linting setups?

Some notes:

  • I use emacs but give my teams the option of using emacs or Cursive. A linter that operates outside of the code editor would hence make sense (unless you experts tell me it doesn’t).
  • Our projects include Clojure and Clojurescript.

So, where should I start and what should I consider for setting up style rules (if necessary)?


I have used clj-fmt with whatever defaults it comes with for purely formatting issues, and Eastwood for other things. No complaints so far. I’d like to integrate joker for on the fly results.

I recommend Joker:


I use Joker as a plugin for Emacs (Spacemacs clojure-lint layer) that continually checks my Clojure code. Joker gives me fast feedback in Emacs without being obtrusive or distracting.

Joker can give a few false positives, especially around macros, however it is easy to define those in a .joker ignore file. For example:

{:known-macros [rum.core/defc

I also use Eastwood, a leiningen plugin, as a check before I commit code. Eastwood does a full evaluation of your code and is arguably more correct about the code than Joker.

You can use squiggly-clojure to continually run Eastwood linting. This will repeatedly reload your code in the repl, so you should ensure your code is happy with that.

Thank you.


Joker is what I’ll probably use myself, and Eastwood sounds great in general. My team is using a combination of IntelliJ and Emacs, so it’s good to have options. Anyone know of IntelliJ/Cursive linting solutions like Joker?

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IntelliJ IDEs have their own internal parsing/checking engines, and Cursive makes a decent job of exploiting it to detect errors, unused variables/aliases. That said it seems it detects less things than Joker (not sure since I couldn’t find a list of all Joker lints).

I never used Joker or Eastwood, so I don’t know how to integrate them with Cursive.

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