My first foray into the world of functional programming is going to be Clojure (pronounced “closure”).

This Lisp derivative is not a purely functional language like Haskell or standard Lisp. It is built on top of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) which gives it a wide deployment reach, and has some conveniences that make it easier to get into for OO heads like me.

Functional programming is a REALLY different way of viewing the problem of how to tell a computer what to do. I am seeing some value from learning about functional programming already. Lambdas, for example, make a whole lot more sense to me now. It solves problems of complexity and concurrency that are difficult in object-oriented systems.

I’m looking forward to learning more about it through Programming Clojure and will post anything I find interesting.

My entire career has been spent honing my object-oriented programming skills. When I first started out, I taught myself about relational data. Then I moved to imperative programming, creating data-driven websites with classic asp and vbscript. (ugh). I quickly figured out that sucked and moved into Java. That’s where my love affair with object-oriented programming was born. I cut my teeth with Jrun after a brief detour into CF.

I love OO. It provides a fantastic abstraction that has allowed me to think about software in concrete terms that are somewhat relatable to my clients. I spent years doing it in C#. And now I’m doing it in Ruby.

To give you an idea how different the implementation is between a statically-typed OO language and a functional language, check this out:



public class StringUtils {
  public static boolean isBlank(String str) {
    int strLen;
    if (str == null || (strLen = str.length()) == 0) {
      return true;
    for (int i = 0; i < strLen; i++) {
      if ((Character.isWhitespace(str.charAt(i)) == false)) {
        return false;
    return true;


(defn blank? [str]
  (every? #(Character/isWhitespace %) str))

Expressive and succinct. I am intrigued.