Alvaro VidelaRead my Thoughts. Follow my Leads.

Closerl - Clojure Erlang Bridge

August 15 2010

In order to learn to program with Clojure I decided to work on a bridge between Clojure and Erlang. Why? I wanted to start by doing something that I’m familiar with. I’ve worked with erlang_interface before, bridging Erlang with PHP, so I thought that doing the same with Clojure will be a nice exercise. Besides that I’ve go to learn a lot about the JInterface, the OTP library for bridging Erlang with Java.

The project is called Closer and is a wrapper around the JInterface, with some helper functions for marshaling values from/to Erlang. Consider the project to be in very alpha state. Feel free to report bugs, fixes, and comments so I can improve my Clojure style.


First we have to configure the JInterface to work with our mvn local repo. (If there’s a better way of doing this let me know, since I’m a complete Java n00b). We use mvn to install JInterface. Adapt the following command to suit your specific configuration:

mvn install:install-file \
-DartifactId=erlang -Dversion=1.5.3 -Dpackaging=jar \

Then obtain the closerl source code:

git clone
cd closerl
lein deps

Once we have closerl set up we can fire up the Clojure repl and start typing some commands:

(use 'closerl.core)

(def self (otp-self "closerl"))

(def peer (otp-peer "rabbit@localhost"))

(def conn (otp-connect self peer))

Up to here what we did is to connect to the remote node. We have to create our node object and the reference to the remote node. Then we use otp-connect to obtain a connection. In this example we connect to a RabbitMQ server running in the local machine. What we are going to do next is to send a message to the RabbitMQ server to retrieve the list of exchanges.

(otp-rpc-and-receive conn 
  "rabbit_exchange" "list"
  (otp-list (otp-binary "/")))

The result should be something like this, depending on your RabbitMQ configuration:

  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "") "direct" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "amq.topic") "topic" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "amq.rabbitmq.log") "topic" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "amq.fanout") "fanout" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "amq.headers") "headers" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "") "direct" "true" "false" ()) 
  ("resource" "/" "exchange" "amq.match") "headers" "true" "false" ()))

What we did with otp-rpc-and-receive was to call the equivalent of Erlang’s rpc:call(node, module, function, args). Instead of using node we use our connection object. Then the second and third parameters are the module and function respectively.

As arguments we send an Erlang List with only one element, a binary specifiying the vhost for which we want the exchanges to be listed. The otp-list returns a list of OtpErlangObject containing each of the arguments that we passed to the function, which of course should be of the OtpErlangObject type.

At the moment the library offers the following functions for constructing OtpErlangObject values.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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