While reading Clojure Programming, I have been using Light Table as my repl for cementing my understanding. This is somewhat torturous, but one of the reasons I am using Clojure at all is because I want to ride the Light Table development wave — I think of it as an investment.
The big win with Light Table is the Instarepl — this is a repl editor tab where your code is continuously run and the values going through your functions are shown inline with your code. The first part of this video shows it in action:
[youtube_sc url=PsVJJp1XnzQ width=430]
My goal was to internalize the functional implementation of the Wilson Maze Algorithm and then to recreate it. Then, I implemented a maze solver (opting for a straight-forward recursion rather than the zipper-based solution from the book)
In both projects, the Instarepl-enabled iteration cycle let me explore a lot more than I might have otherwise. I was still learning during the maze-generation phase, so it still took a long time to get through it. By the time I was writing a solver, I was getting used to the language and its core functions, so that progressed very quickly.
The Instarepl is so powerful for learning that I have resisted installing a “better” clojure IDE.