• CIDER 0.22 ("São Paulo")

    I announced the release of CIDER 0.22 (“São Paulo”) on the 1st of September at Clojure/south, but it took me a while to get to writing a proper announcement. Time to change that now I guess.

    While CIDER 0.22 does ship some cool new features, the primary focus of the release are bug-fixes and small improvements. The majority of those improvements happened “under the hood” - in the underlying libraries like cider-nrepl and orchard. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

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  • 6 Years of Brewing CIDER

    Recently I was working on a history page for CIDER and I realized that this month marks 6 years since the first release under my stewardship of the project - namely I haven’t had much time for writing recently between “Heart of Clojure”, lots of work at my day job, lots of work on CIDER and its Orchard, and preparing for the upcoming “Clojure/south” conference, but I decided that I should jot down a few thoughts about this small anniversary.

    Looking back at those 6 years I’m genuinely amazed at how far the project went and its impact on the Clojure ecosystem in general. It’s amusing that I started my tenure at the helm of CIDER with the modest ambition to build a great Clojure plugin for Emacs and down the road I’ve switched to the much more ambitious goal of developing a robust common foundation for Clojure development tools.2 I’ve yet to achieve any of those goals, and I might never manage to do so, but it has been one fun, wild, stressful and very educational ride for me.

    I’d like to take moment to everyone who’ve supported CIDER and friends, to everyone who contributed to the projects, to everyone who used the projects. You’re awesome and CIDER, nREPL and the rest of the Orchard wouldn’t be the same without you! Your help, support, positive energy and general greatness have kept me and the projects going all this time. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be part of the awesome Clojure community!

    How far can CIDER and CIDER’s Orchard go? Well, I guess sky is the limit, right? I’ll be speaking on this subject later this week at “Clojure/south” and I really hope to meet some of you there!

    Here’s to the next 6 years! Cheers!

    1. Technically speaking, it was still nrepl.el back then. 

    2. CIDER’s Orchard. 

  • Hard CIDER: Easy Downgrading

    Welcome to another installment of the “Hard CIDER” series! It’s been way too long since the previous episode and it’s time to get back into action. Today we’re going to discuss the grizzly subject of downgrading CIDER.

    Downgrading from a MELPA (snapshot) release

    Due to the massive popularity of MELPA1 a many CIDER users are installing it from there and are effectively using a snapshot version. While most of the time the snapshot version works fine2, from time to time you might run into some (small) issues (or epic mistakes) there.3 This section of the article will teach you what to do if you ever end up in this nasty situation - namely downgrade to the latest stable CIDER version.

    The downgrade process is really simple. You just need to remove the cider package, pin cider to MELPA Stable and reinstall it. Basically you need to do the following:

    • M-x package-remove cider
    • Add (add-to-list 'package-pinned-packages '(cider . "melpa-stable") t) to your Emacs config
    • Restart Emacs (or reload your config)
    • M-x package-install cider

    Of course, you’ll have to add the MELPA Stable package repo to your Emacs config if you haven’t done so already. Here’s a complete package.el configuration that you can reuse if you want to:

    (require 'package)
    (add-to-list 'package-archives
                 '("melpa" . "") t)
    (add-to-list 'package-archives
                 '("melpa-stable" . "") t)
    ;; keep the installed packages in .emacs.d
    (setq package-user-dir (expand-file-name "elpa" user-emacs-directory))
    ;; update the package metadata is the local cache is missing
    (unless package-archive-contents

    Depending on the type of person you are, you might also want to consider sticking permanently with CIDER pinned to MELPA Stable. Probably the only real problem with this approach is that CIDER releases tend to be few and far in between and you might end up waiting a very long time for some (important) bugfix or a cool new feature.4

    Downgrading only cider-nrepl

    In case you experience a problem with cider-nrepl you don’t really need to downgrade the Emacs cider package - you can simply instruct CIDER to use an older version of the middleware. Let’s assume that cider-nrepl-0.22-beta6 was faulty and we want to go back to 0.22-beta5. Here’s how to do this:

    (setq cider-required-middleware-version "0.22-beta5")

    After you’ve updated your Emacs config you’ll need to reload it and restart CIDER. Easy-peasy, right?

    Downgrading from a Stable Release

    Imagine you’re using CIDER 0.21 and for some reason you want to go back to CIDER 0.20. How can you do this?

    That’s going to be a pretty short section, as that’s simply not possible. Unfortunately package.el doesn’t support the concept of historical versions of a package - there’s always only one version that’s available - the latest one.

    Fortunately, I don’t think that this is something that many people needed to do, and if you really have to do it - it’s doable, but painful. You’ll have to do the installation completely manually by cloning the relevant CIDER release tag locally and loading CIDER from there (and potentially some of its dependencies like clojure-mode).

    Closing Thoughts

    I was inspired to write this article after breaking CIDER’s snapshot for a couple of hours on Monday. Shortly afterwards I got asked for the millionth time what to do in this situation and here we are. I also took a moment to add those instructions to the FAQ for future reference.

    That’s all I had for you today! Keep hacking!

    1. The underlying cause of this is mostly the fact the historically Emacs package maintainers had a tendency to release extremely rarely (if ever). 

    2. I really hope this is not just wishful thinking on my part. 

    3. Typically serious problems are addressed within several hours of being reported. 

    4. Lately I’ve been trying hard to improve the release cadence, and presently things are looking better on this front. 

  • Meta Reduce 2019.3: Style Guide & Docs Updates

    It’s been quite a while since the last “Meta Reduce” update I wrote and a lot of things have happened in the mean time.1 Let’s go over them real quick.

    1. Frankly, by now I’ve forgotten most of what’s happened. 

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  • Farewell, Grimoire

    A few days ago Reid McKenzie announced over twitter that he was shutting down Grimoire - a popular alternative to ClojureDocs he had created.

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