In order to do anything in a programming language, you need to have values to do stuff with. In Clojure, simple values are numbers, strings, booleans, nil and keywords.
Clojure has several different types of numbers.
First up are integers. Integers include zero, the positive whole numbers, and the negative whole numbers, and you write them just like we write them normally.
0 12 -42
Then we have decimal numbers, which are also called floats. They include any numbers that have a decimal point in them.
0.0000072725 10.5 -99.9
Finally, we have fractions, which are also called ratios. Computers cannot perfectly represent all floats, but ratios are always exact. We write them with a slash, like so:
Note that, just like with pen-and-paper math, the denominator of your ratio cannot be equal to
You can add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers. In Clojure, arithmetic looks a little different than it does when you write it out with pen and paper. Look at these examples:
(+ 1 1) ;=> 1 + 1 = 2 (- 12 4) ;=> 12 - 4 = 8 (* 13 2) ;=> 13 * 2 = 26 (/ 27 9) ;=> 27 / 9 = 3
/appear before two numbers. This is called prefix notation. What you’re used to seeing is called infix notation, as the arithmetic operator is in-between the two operands.
Infix: 1 + 2 * 3 / 4 + 5 - 6 * 7 / 8 + 9 Prefix: (+ (- (+ (+ 1 (/ (* 2 3) 4)) 5) (/ (* 6 7) 8)) 9)
Imagine both are unclear, but notice that in the prefix version, you do not have to ever think about the precedence of operators. Because each expression has the operator before all the operands and the entire expression is wrapped in parentheses, all precedence is explicit.
Infix: 1 + 2 / 3 Prefix: (+ 1 (/ 2 3))
Another reason prefix notation can be nice is that it can make long expressions less repetitive. With prefix notation, if we plan to use the same operator on many operands, we do not have to repeat the operator between them.
Infix: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 Prefix: (+ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)
So far, we looked at arithmetic operations by integers only. However, we can use floats or ratios for those operations as well. See these examples:
(+ 4/3 7/8) ;=> 53/24 (- 9 4.2 1/2) ;=> 4.3 (/ 27/2 1.5) ;=> 9.0
What is a string? A string is just a piece of text. To make a string, you enclose it in quotation marks. Look at the last example. A backslash is how we put a quotation mark inside a string. Do not try using single quotes to make a string.
"Hello, World!" "This is a longer string that I wrote for purposes of an example." "Aubrey said, \"I think we should go to the Orange Julius.\""
A boolean is a true or false value, and you type them just like that,
false. Often in programming, we need to ask a true or false question, like “Is this class in the current semester?” or “Is this person’s birthday today?” When we ask those questions, we get a boolean back.
There is another value
nil, which behaves like a boolean in terms of truthiness. But,
nilmeans no value at all and not a boolean
true false nil
Keywords are the strangest of the basic value types. Some computer languages have similar one. However, keywords don’t have a real world analog like numbers, strings, or booleans. You can think of them as a special type of string, one that’s used for labels. They are often used as keys of key-value pair for maps (data structure; will learn later).
:forename :surname :date-of-birth
If we had to type the same values over and over, it would be very hard to write a program. What we need are names for values, so we can refer to them in a way we can remember.
Most of the time, we only need a name for a short time. To help ourselves keep track of our names, we define short-term names with
let. The nice thing about
letis that it keeps our names tidy. The name we create is only defined within the
(let [mangoes 3 oranges 5] (+ mangoes oranges)) ;=> 8
Sometimes, we need a name that doesn’t fit in a
let. We prefer to limit how many names we use, but sometimes we need a few names across our entire program. For those cases, we can define a name for a value using
def. When a name is defined, that name is called a symbol.
(def mangoes 3) (def oranges 5) (+ mangoes oranges) ;=> 8
(quot x y)will give you the whole number part of x divided by y.
(rem x y)will give you the remainder of x divided by y.