Retiring and looking for a good Clojure open source project

My name is Lance Campbell.

I have spent half my career as a pharmacist and half as a software developer.

I have been frustrated by the healthcare industry, and software development industry, both, for a variety of not completely orthogonal reasons.

Currently working as a Data Integration Engineer for a Healthcare Informatics company. Primarily middleware via Mirth. Javascript and Java.

About seven years ago, I stumbled upon the Harold and Gerald MIT SICP lectures and proceeded to watch and rewatch and rewatch and rewatch them because it was the first time I ever heard people commiserating with my software development frustrations and offering potential, practical solutions.

Since then, I have been a LISP dabbler and a Clojure lurker. My open source contributions have been primarily been in Adobe Brackets.

At the end of April, 2019, I will be turning fifty. My big present to myself is I am retiring early because of good financial planning and because I am tired of developing software for other people instead of myself. I am looking to dive into Clojure and at least one solid, useful Clojure open source project, part- to full-time.

Asking for suggestions for good open source clojure projects that are valuable to the community so I contribute value while I learn.




There’s a listing for such open source projects:
In particular, here’s one with potential impact on Clojure community at large


@myguidingstar, thanks for the suggestion, this is exactly what I was looking for.

Looks like you picked an appropriate username for yourself. :grinning:

Hi Lance,

congrats on early retirement and finding some joy with Lisp and Clojure. :slight_smile:

@myguidingstar already mentioned cljdoc but I was planning to also chime in and “pitch you” cljdoc before I saw his reply and so I’ll just do what I set out to do.

cljdoc is a community-ran project mostly led by myself attempting to improve the Clojure ecosystem by improving documentation tooling. The idea is that with better documentation we’ll get a better ecosystem.

The project is a real world application (in contrast to a library) built on top of Pedestal, Integrant, SQLite and other hand-picked libraries. It’s architecture is a bit ad-hoc and grows based on need but fundamental decisions have been documented in Architecture Decision Records.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the last year mostly focused on this project and while I do enjoy doing that it’s not sustainable for me to do that for eternity :smile: For this reason I believe it is essential to constantly onboard more developers and slowly give up my “ownership” letting others make decisions and drive the project in directions they believe are worthwhile.

If this makes you curious feel invited to stop by the #cljdoc Slack channel (sign up at and ask questions/chat.


EDIT: Here’s a talk on cljdoc if you like watching talks.


Retiring at 50. Well done!!!

I’d like to pitch Calva, a Clojure programming extension to VS Code, as a possible project for you to contribute to. It is today only very partially written in ClojureScript, which is what I would like to interest you in: helping to make Calva a real ClojureScript project.

We have attempted this several times, and in many different ways, but it will take a concentrated effort to cover some real ground.

Granted, helping Calva means helping a small part of the Clojure comnunity, but it is growing and I would say it us a very important part, since it is a starting environment for many newcomers to the language. And helping Calva become a Clojure project will help it attract more Clojure developers for contributing to Calva itself, so I think there is great leverage in such an effort.

I hope you’ll consider it! Please feel welcome to join the #calva-dev channel on that Slack, @martinklepsch pointed at.

You’re welcome to contribute to speculative: a collection of community driven specs for clojure.core.

The contributor guidelines:

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Thanks for all of the input. I will definitely take a look at all of the suggestions presented so I can get a feel of the work you all are doing.


If you are interested in machine learning the Clojure MXNet package is also a good place


Thanks for the suggestion. Coincidentally, I just finished watching your Deep Learning Needs Clojure. Interesting ideas and terrifying cats :). I will take a look at MXNet.

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