Clojure Persistence for Java Programmers

Using Java for a long time, whenever I needed to save some data structure to disk, my first response was to serialize it to a file. While working on a Clojure application, I did just that, it worked half the time because not every data structure implements Serializable.

Then I remembered Clojure being a Lisp, code is data. This allows you to dump everything as a String to a file and read it back as a data structure.

user=> (doc prn)
([& more])
  Same as pr followed by (newline). Observes *flush-on-newline*

You can pass prn a vector,map or any object you want, it will print the object to the output stream.

(defstruct db :file :data)

(defn write-db [db]
  (binding [*out* ( (:file db))]
    (prn (:data db))))

By binding out to a FileWriter we can easily dump any object to a file,

(write-db (struct db "test" [1 2 3]))
(write-db (struct db "test" {:test "test" :ax "ax"}))

To read it back we use read-string function,

user=> (doc read-string)
  Reads one object from the string s

read-string takes a string and returns an object,

(defn read-db [fname]
    (let [object (read-string (slurp fname))]
      (struct db fname object))
    (catch Exception e nil)))

(read-db "test")