Clojure eXchange: Call for Papers


The Call for Papers is now open for the 2014 Clojure eXchange

Now entering it’s 4th year, the annual Clojure eXchange brings together experts and enthusiasts from the world of Clojure to explore one of the fastest growing functional languages.

This is not just an opportunity to come and listen to experts for 2-days, but a chance to fully immerse yourself in all things Clojure – and we’re looking for passionate, talented and brilliant Clojure virtuoso’s to join our line-up.

As with our other conferences, we aim to have between 25-50% of talks targeting newcomers to Clojure, Lisp and the JVM. The types of talks we’re looking for include:

  • Clojure in startups
  • Clojure in enterprise
  • embedded projects
  • experience reports
  • robots, art, music, humanities, games, social science…

You can choose to either present a full-length 40 minute talk, or go for a shorter 10 minute lightning presentation. Talks don’t necessarily have to be about Clojure, but must be interesting to Clojurians!

If this sounds like you, head over to the CfP page now. If you have any questions then please contact us

The CfP will close on Friday 31st October, and successful presenters will be contacted by the week commencing 10th November.

Friday Round-Up: 4 – 8 August

Things are heating up in the Skills Matter office as we approach our eagerly anticipated end-of-year conference season, in both London and New York. We have been delighted to announce a host of new speakers and keynotes (more on that below), as well as finalise the line-ups to a number of conferences.

Not forgetting about our wonderful user groups, we had some fantastic talks from the London Clojurians and Swift London – as well as a hands-on session from London Haskell. Be sure to check out the recordings below – we were particularly impressed with Tom Booth’s use of Clojure to create his own digital Pollock…

The Week in Skillscasts

Every week we record the majority of meetups and user groups that come to our offices in London for evening events and talks. These are our Skillscasts – and they’re all available for free on!

The London Clojure Community hosted three talks from three experienced and talented devs. First up Tom Booth, who currently works on the Performance Platform, showed us how he taught himself Clojure outside of his everyday work commitments by trying to model painting. Using the abstract work of Jackson Pollock, defining the workspace (vectors, canvas, gravity etc.), Tom takes you through how he built his very own digital Pollock.

Robert Rees, Developer Manager at the Guardian, introduced us to Mori – a Javascript library that brings the immutable data structures of Clojure to Javascript along with a lot of the sequence operation functions and some of the reducers library. In this talk Robert explains why he believes that it is a really important, practical way to bring the principles of Clojure into the hands of everyday Javascript development.

Finally, we escaped DSL hell as Tom Hall from Futurelearn re-imagined netlogo and geomlab as Clojure DSLs. Tom showed us how embedding them in Clojure makes the implementation easier, gives greater power to the user and enables extension.

We were also joined by Swift London this week, as they held a hands-on session giving everyone the chance to experiment with a variety of areas of Swift, beginning some new projects and working together to solve problems in some existing ones.

The Week in Blog

Dan Cunningham of #hack4good did a great round-up of their recent workshop at Skills Matter; we caught up with George Dinwiddie to talk about BDD, the need for conversation and the art of writing scenarios; we launched the Groovy & Grails eXchange 2014 Call for Papers!

The Week in Conferences


It was cheers all round as we confirmed Google’s Chet Haase as this year’s keynote at Droidcon London. He’s keeping the content of his talk pretty close to his chest, but we can confirm that he will be treating delegates to the very latest developments in Android technologies and APIs.

Chet is a senior software engineer at Google, and has previously worked as a senior computer scientist for Adobe, senior staff engineer at Sun Microsystems and was the DirectX Drivers Manager for Micron Technology. When he’s not making Android graphics and animation better, or speaking at conferences around the world, he writes on CodeDependent and Enough About You (amongst a whole number of books).

Chet joins what is already shaping to be the best line-up we’ve ever had at Droidcon, so make sure you head on over and book your ticket now!

And in other conferences this week:


Friday Round-Up: 6 – 9 May


Here’s what you may have missed at Skills Matter this week!

The Week in Skillscasts

Every week we record the majority of meetups and user groups that come to our offices in London for evening events and talks. These are our Skillscasts – and their all available for free on!


The London Clojure Community came along to Skills Matter HQ on Tuesday with three fantastic speakers around the topic of Robots, Haskell & Hedge Funds. The evening took the community through topics like DSL and Haskell, with the aim of leaving us better Clojure programmers.

Patrik Sundberg looked at running a hedge fund in Clojure as he presented a case study of a commodity hedge fund making the unusual choice of building their own infrastructure in Clojure. Patrik presented his road to Clojure, how it came to shape a business infrastructure, what it was used for and the lessons learnt in the process.

Dave Snowdon then explored robot control in Clojure as he outlined a small DSL written in Clojure that aims to make it possible to generate animations in a more readable way.

Fianlly, Bodil Stokke looked at Haskell for Clojurists. The talk explained that for Clojure to retain its competitive edge it’s imperitive to keep a healthy interest in the whole field of computer science – especially Haskell, a close cousin to Clojure.

Wednesday brought the London Java Community for a talk on Cloud Developer’s DHARMA. Daniel Bryant looked to redefine ‘done’ for Cloud applications, as he looked at lessons from both a theoretic and practical perspective built from the Cloud Developer’s ‘DHARMA’ rules – Documented (just enough); Highly cohesive/loosely coupled (all the way down); Automated from code commit to cloud; Resource aware; Monitored thoroughly; and Antifragile.

Also on Wednesday, Farid Tejani, Managing Partner at Ignitr consulting, looked at overcoming the challenges to Lean/Agile adaoption in the finance industry for an In The Brain talk. Farid discussed some of the tests people face within Finance and how they manifest themselves and explore how they might be overcome.

Finally, the F#unctional Londoners came on Thursday with Ben Hall to explore using F# to model how physics and biology create organs. This fascinating talk showed how Ben took advantage of different features of F# and other tools to understand the results of a hybrid simulator in F# which allows us to explore how stem cells grow in an organ, and how breakdowns can lead to cancer growth.

The Week in Blog

Crafting Games for Fun and Profit – a guest post from Jonathan Frawley; While It’s Compiling with Cate Huston

Next Week in Brief

Monday: Learning to Code, How to win developers and Deprecating ActiveResource (with the London Ruby User Group); Intro to programming using Python (part 1)

Tuesday: A discussion on Meteor with London AjaxModels of Automation and Automating Google Analytics tracking (with London Selenium)Scalable Real-time Analytics with Storm Trident

Wednesday: CQRS & Scala + Spoiwo with London Scala Users’ Group

While It’s Compiling: Skills Matter interviews Bodil Stokke

Bodil Stokke

While It’s Compiling is a series of interviews with experts across a range of bleeding-edge technologies and practices, exclusive to Skills Matter. Be sure to subscribe to this blog for future interviews, or follow us on Twitter.

Find out who we’ll be interviewing next and get a chance to put your questions forward with our hashtag #whileitscompiling.

This week on While It’s Compiling, we talked to Bodil Stokke; a frequent conference speaker in the fields of Functional Programming and internet technologies, and co-organiser of three annual developer conferences in her home town of Oslo. We caught up with her to discuss what she’s been up to in the Functional world.

1. What attracted you to functional languages in the first place?

It was a gradual process. Python used to be my main language back in the 90s, and coming from things like C++ I approached it mostly through its OO capabilities. I’d been aware from the start of Python’s Functions being first class, but it took me a while to realise the implications of this. A few years in, I was so attached to the idea of first class functions that I couldn’t do without them.

This, along with industry trends, led inexorably to Javascript. Eventually, it led to Node replacing Python as my go-to runtime for personal projects. And, as all things Node must, it led to so much frustration I decided enough was enough and I was going to start using a real Functional language. This led to spending a few days learning the basics of Haskell—and even that brief exercise changed my perspective on programming forever. I ended up spending the next three years with Clojure, but knowing even a little Haskell makes you a better programmer in any language, especially another functional one. Clojure very effectively highlighted what in my mind is the core value of Functional Programming: structuring code through composition, not the peculiar OO notion of inheritance. These days, though, I’m less interested in Functional programming than I am in exploring the idea of type systems. Clojure and Haskell both seem dull in comparison to things like Idris.

 2. What are you working on?

I’ve got a long running project exploring programming language design where I’m trying to build a modern typed Lisp, called BODOL. I spend a lot of time evolving my Emacs setup, and have an ambition to turn Emacs into a proper desktop environment, so I can use it for absolutely everything. And for a living I write Javascript game engines using various Functional compile-to-JS languages, the goal being to reduce the time spent building each individual game to as close to zero as possible. Functional languages are fantastic for this, because they excel at abstraction in a way traditional OO can’t hope to rival.

3. Do you work in only FP languages, or does the project you are working on have some FP code and some OO/Procedure code? If so, how does that fit together?

 I try to avoid non-functional languages when possible, and when I do have to write actual Javascript, I do it in a strictly Functional style, even to the point of employing immutable data structures whenever I can. Mutable state is Satan’s handmaiden.

4. What is one piece of advice you can give to new programmers?

Two things stand out. First, read the paper “Out of the Tar Pit” by Moseley & Marks, or all your code will be awful and you won’t know why. Second, always ask yourself, “would Dijkstra have liked this?”

5. You’ve recently moved to London – have you experienced much of the FP community in the UK capital yet?

One of the reasons I moved here in the first place was the amazing Clojure community. The Haskell community is even more amazing—not so much because they’re great people (too early to tell, though I’m sure they must be) but because where else in the world do you regularly get almost 100 people attending a Haskell meetup?

6. What would you like to ask the community?

When will there be a London Idris Meetup?

Are you up to organizing a London Idris Meetup? Tweet us at #whileitscompiling or @skillsmatter 

Bodil will be giving a talk on how to Build Your Own LISP for Great Justice at the Functional Programming eXchange 2014.

Friday Round-Up: 3rd – 7th February

Say goodbye to those January blues as we start February off with a week filled with even more User Groups and In The Brains for you guys to enjoy and catch up on. Also, we can’t believe it but it seems as though time is flying by, as our new site has now been live for over a week – so remember to check it out at – sign up and leave your feedback!

This week in Skillscasts:


Even with a Tube strike, we were busier than ever:

Starting the week, The Phonegap User Group and arrived armed with two fantastic talks by Tom Cartwright and Yacine Resgui for their first ever meetup. Look back at the Skillscasts and catch up on an introduction to the Iconic Framework and the exploration of mobile apps around Phonegap, Angular.js and Ember.js.

The Clojurians were back in town with another two talks delivered by Tom O’Brien and David Snowdon. Tom presented the basic idea of Markov Chains and how they can be used to generate humorous (and sometimes deeply insightful) comments. While David briefly described Communicating Sequential Processes before giving an overview of core.async itself. Exciting stuff!

Haskell got hands-on with Idris an experimental functional programming language with full spectrum dependent types. Taking baby steps, the aim was to get it up and running and work through some simple examples and share what was working.

Gerald Loeffler joined The London Scala User Group who gave an outstanding explanation and critical comparison of the defining architectural principles and coding styles in Akka Actors and Java EE 7 Enterprise Java Beans. Definitely something you should catch up on if you didn’t manage to make it.

London Infracoders brought in the crowd this week offering a little automation fun. Nathen Harvey introduced tooling that can be used to test cookbooks and simplify workflow. Aims: be more efficient and be even more awesome. Simple.

To end the week, The Titanium User Group took a look at how to architect a data-driven mobile app, some strategies for server synchronization and a deep dive into working with datasets in Javascript. Pratik Patel, a seasoned Titanium developer and speaker was something that should not have been missed, so make sure you check out the Skillscast.

Next week at Skills Matter:

Monday: London Ruby User Group, In The Brain of Jimmy Bogard

Tuesday: Limited WIP Society

Wednesday: London Android User Group

Thursday: F#unctional Londoners Meetup Group

Find a list of all our meetups on the Skills Matter website!