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Clojure High Performance Programming - Second Edition Paperback – September 29, 2015
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About the Author
Shantanu Kumar is a software developer living in Bengaluru, India. He works with Concur Technologies as a principal engineer, building a next-generation stack in Clojure. He started learning computer programming when he was at school, and has dabbled in several programming languages and software technologies. Having used Java for a long time, he discovered Clojure in early 2009 and has been a fan of it ever since. When not busy with programming or reading up on technical stuff, he enjoys reading non-fiction and cycling around Bengaluru. Shantanu is an active participant in The Bangalore Clojure Users Group, and contributes to several open source Clojure projects on GitHub. He is also the author of the first edition of the book Clojure High Performance Programming, Packt Publishing.
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Top customer reviews
However I came away feeling that there was a lack of actionable information in the book. As an experienced Clojure developer, I learned several things that I didn't know previously, but only as brief pointers to external information. The book spent a long time on topics which are undoubtedly interesting, but provided little guidance on what the information means for someone trying to improve the performance of their programs. For example, the discussion of modern processor and memory architecture was interesting and detailed, but how should I apply that knowledge to my projects, especially in a very high-level language such as Clojure? Subjects such as OS level profiling are mentioned, but these are highly specialised topics which have no place in a book this short.
In the end I think this book treads an uneasy path - it's very detailed in places, but is too short to contain enough information to make many of the topics worth while. In the end, it tries to address an enormous topic in a short book, and I think it would have been better to have remained more focused on how Clojure developers specifically can improve their programs' performance. It will be useful to someone without a lot of experience in JVM or Clojure performance topics, but more experienced users will probably find it comes up short.
Now, frankly, if I'm writing a 160 page book on optimization, I would probably take all 160 pages to talk about the material in Chapter 2. These are the underpinnings of the high level aspects of Clojure, but Kumar goes on to spend a chapter on Java bytecode, hardware optimizations. It's a lot of material, and it's only touched on here, by-and-large.
I didn't find that to be a bad thing, however. It's perhaps less useful than it might be if you had a giant book that had your exact problem in it, I suppose, but what I've done is to read a chapter through quickly, and then look at my code and see if I can apply what I learned there. This not only has the potential to make the code faster, but to give you a deeper understanding of what's going on under the covers.
You want to know going in, though. There's not a lot of hand-holding. I'm still pondering over the section on Agents, which I'm pretty sure I've heard Rich Hickey say he never uses. I kind of wanted the "Measuring Performance" (chapter 6) up front since that's what we're trying to do. Maybe Chapter 7, too.
Anyway, this approach with this material worked for me, and I liked the way it removed some of the mystery of Clojure for me, or at least help me resolve some of the mystery by pointing me in the right direction.
Chapter one, "Performance by Design". Made me think differently about performance no matter which language I'll be using.
Chapter four, "Host Performance". Learned a lot about the JVM.
Chapter six, "Measuring Performance". Measuring is maybe the most important part of performance tuning, and this chapter has both theory and practical Clojure tips.