I was bored and in a mood to write some macros, so I decided as an exercise to try and remake each of the standard threading macros: ->, ->>, some->, some->>, as->, cond->, cond->>, and doto. doto doesn't seem to be considered a "threading macro", but it's very close to the same idea, so I wrote an implementation of it as well.

Usage examples of each:

(my-> 1
      (+ 2)
      (* 3)
      (- 4)
      (/ 5))
=> 1

(my->> 1
       (+ 2)
       (* 3)
       (- 4)
       (/ 5))
=> -1

(my-some-> 1
           (+ 2)
           (* 3)
           (println 4)
           (/ 5))
9 4
=> nil

(my-some->> 1
            (+ 2)
            (* 3)
            (println 4)
            (/ 5))
4 9
=> nil

(my-as-> 1 a
         (+ a 2)
         (* 3 a)
         (- a 4)
         (/ a 5))
=> 1

(let [n 10]
  (my-cond-> []
             (odd? n) (conj "odd")
             (even? n) (conj "even")
             (zero? n) (conj "zero")
             (pos? n) (conj "positive")))
=> ["even" "positive"]

(let [n 10]
  (my-cond->> [1 2 3 4 5]
              (odd? n) (map #(* % 2))
              (even? n) (map #(* % 3))
              (zero? n) (map #(* % 4))
              (pos? n) (map #(* % 5))))
=> (15 30 45 60 75)

(my-doto (Object.)
         (println "A")
         (println "B"))
#object[java.lang.Object 0x7f681f0f java.lang.Object@7f681f0f] A
#object[java.lang.Object 0x7f681f0f java.lang.Object@7f681f0f] B
=> #object[java.lang.Object 0x7f681f0f "java.lang.Object@7f681f0f"]

Nearly all of them ended up being simple reductions. I looked over the core's definitions, and I find them to be "overly explicit". They're only defined 1/4 of the way down the core though, so that might be contributing to what options he/they had available.

I honestly find my versions to be more readable, but I'm sure there's things that can be improved on. My main concerns are:

  • My versions don't handle meta data. I don't manually deal with meta data very often, so I may be missing something, but I don't see why meta information would need to be transferred. What meta data does the form itself carry? I would think any relevant data would be attached to the objects inside the form.

  • Anything to improve the cond parts. I'm not very happy with the generalized version's length, and it's kind of ugly. The need for prev-sym is unfortunate. If there's a way to get rid of it, I'd like to hear it. It's also unfortunate that I need to call vec on each var-arg list prior to giving them to my-general-cond. Since my-general-cond is a plain function, the var-arg list will be evaluated as forms prior to them being passed in, leading to weird errors. I could fix this by making it a macro, but it doesn't need to be a macro, so I'd rather not make it one.

  • Any other changes you think would help!

(ns macros.expr-threading)

(defn- ensure-wrapped [expr]
  (if (list? expr)
    (list expr)))

(defn- insert-first [arg form]
  (let [[f & args] (ensure-wrapped form)]
    (apply list f arg args)))

(defn- insert-last [arg form]
  (let [w-form (ensure-wrapped form)]
    (concat w-form (list arg))))

(defmacro my-> [expr & forms]
  (reduce insert-first expr forms))

(defmacro my->> [expr & forms]
  (reduce insert-last expr forms))

(defmacro my-as-> [expr sym & forms]
  (reduce (fn [prev form]
            `(let [~sym ~prev]

(defn- my-general-some [macro-sym expr forms]
  (reduce (fn [prev form]
            `(when-let [res# ~prev]
               (~macro-sym res# ~form)))

(defmacro my-some-> [expr & forms]
  (my-general-some 'my-> expr forms))

(defmacro my-some->> [expr & forms]
  (my-general-some 'my->> expr forms))

(defn- my-general-cond [macro-sym expr clause-pairs]
  (let [prev-sym (gensym)]
    (my->> clause-pairs
           (partition 2)
           (reduce (fn [prev [pred-expr form]]
                     `(let [~prev-sym ~prev]
                        (if ~pred-expr
                          (~macro-sym ~prev-sym ~form)

(defmacro my-cond-> [expr & clause-pairs]
  (my-general-cond 'my-> expr (vec clause-pairs)))

(defmacro my-cond->> [expr & clause-pairs]
  (my-general-cond 'my->> expr (vec clause-pairs)))

(defmacro my-doto [expr & forms]
  (let [sym (gensym)
        alt-forms (map #(insert-first sym %) forms)]
    `(let [~sym ~expr]
       (do ~@alt-forms ~sym))))

1 Answer 1


Interesting. I never thought of using a reduce when writing the it-> macro.

(defmacro it->
  [expr & forms]
  `(let [~'it ~expr
         ~@(interleave (repeat 'it) forms)


(it-> 1
      (inc it)                                  ; thread-first or thread-last
      (+ it 3)                                  ; thread-first
      (/ 10 it)                                 ; thread-last
      (str "We need to order " it " items." )   ; middle of 3 arguments
;=> "We need to order 2 items." )

I can see that simply nesting the let forms instead having one long let expression might be simpler.

There is more documentation here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the core should have used a standardized symbol like this. Having the extra argument to specify a name seems unnecessary. Nice idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I copied the idea from the way Groovy does closures with a default symbol it for 1-arg functions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 4:02

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