Front-end God Mode with Clojurescript, Reagent and Figwheel

Do you spend your days developing browser applications? Are you sick of reloading the browser? Worse yet, are you tired of clicking around your application to restore the application state that you just LOST?

I know I was.

But then I learned to use Figwheel.


Figwheel is a tool for writing browser applications that allows you to continually tweak and edit your code, and all changes are instantly rendered to the screen, with NO loss of state. Yep, it’s what non-programmers assume programming must be like!

If you’ve never tried it, it’s a revelation.

For a visual example, see how Flappy Bird can be programmed LIVE using Figwheel:

Want more depth? See Bruce Hauman’s great talk on the subject here:


But Figwheel is the just the reload functionality. What use is the ability to code, live without a good programming language?

In order to get started, you’ll need to learn Clojurescript. (The koans are also nice, but only run in Chrome.)


But you won’t want to write a real web app without a UI framework.

In my opinion, the best library/framework to write a Clojurescript application is Reagent, a binding to Facebook’s React.js.

My Talk

Sounds like a lot to take on?

Don’t sweat it. I’ve got you covered!

I gave a talk on the subject last week at the Vancouver Functional Programmer’s meetup.

Slides are here.

There’s also a demo chat application, with a full version history and Git tags, step-1 through step-10, demonstrating how to build it.

Let me know if you’re interested in the topic and I can put together a screencast which may be more educational.

Happy coding!

Written on January 25, 2016

David Kay has dedicated his life to the advancement of the technological singularity. He is a serial entrepreneur, working to impact the future of software development and medicine. If you found this article helpful, join his weekly newsletter.