A web application is there to send back HTML (and Javascript/Stylesheet) to a web browser. HTML may be a statically created file, or it can be dynamically created by a program. This section is about how to create HTML dynamically with Clojure.

In Clojure world, there are a number of HTML generation tools:

This document focuses on Hiccup, which is simple and commonly used.

Project setup

Since Hiccup is not included in Clojure, we need to get the Hiccup library first. We do this by following the three steps below:

  1. Create a Clojure project

    lein new hello-hiccup
  2. Add Hiccup to dependencies to project.clj

    • cd hello-hiccup
    • open project.clj with your favorite editor
    • add [hiccup “1.0.5”] to the dependencies

    The project.clj will look like below:

  3. Start repl (this triggers to download Hiccup archive)

    lein repl

  • Advice to coaches

    To try Hiccup examples here on LightTable, we need some extra steps.

    1. Before connecting to instarepl, open src/hello-hiccup/core.clj
    2. Add hiccup.core to ns form.

    3. Evaluate core.clj by cmd-enter (this resolves dependencies on LightTable)
    4. Open instarepl

Try on repl

Hiccup sees HTML as data. On Hiccup, HTML tags and attributes are expressed by Clojure’s data structure.

Let’s try some examples on repl.

user=> (use 'hiccup.core)
user=> (use 'hiccup.page)
user=> (use 'hiccup.form)
user=> ; everything is loaded on the repl
user=> ; let's try some HTML tags

user=> (html
  #_=> [:div {:class "url"}
  #_=> [:a {:href "http://clojure.org"} "Clojure - home"]])
"<div class=\"url\"><a href=\"http://clojure.org\">Clojure - home</a></div>"

user=> ; html5 tag and javascript/stylesheet tags
user=> (html5
  #_=> {:lang "en"}
  #_=> [:head (include-js "myscript.js") (include-css "mystyle.css")]
  #_=> [:body [:div [:h1 {:class "info"} "Hiccup"]]])
"<!DOCTYPE html>\n<html lang=\"en\"><head><script src=\"myscript.js\" type=\"text/javascript\"></script><link href=\"mystyle.css\" rel=\"stylesheet\" type=\"text/css\"></head><body><div><h1 class=\"info\">Hiccup</h1></div></body></html>"

user=> ; HTML form tags
user=> (label :hello "clojure")         ; generates Clojure data
[:label {:for "hello"} "clojure"]
user=> (html (label :hello "clojure"))  ; html macro converts it to HTML
"<label for=\"hello\">clojure</label>"

user=> (text-field :title)
[:input {:type "text", :name "title", :id "title", :value nil}]
user=> (html (text-field :title))
"<input id=\"title\" name=\"title\" type=\"text\" />"

user=> (check-box :yes true "yay!")
[:input {:type "checkbox", :name "yes", :id "yes", :value "yay!", :checked true}]
user=> (html (check-box :yes true "yay!"))
"<input checked=\"checked\" id=\"yes\" name=\"yes\" type=\"checkbox\" value=\"yay!\" />"

user=> ; using vector data
user=> (def colors [:white :green :pink])
user=> (html (select-options colors))
  • Advice to coaches

    It’s a good idea to look at the Hiccup API docs and try some more tags.