"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Dive Into Erlang?!

Wow. Are things hopping in the world of Erlang, or what? Several high-profile people have blogged about recent explorations. Also just strolling through del.icio.us turns up all kinds of interesting bits. Like this from Dive Into Erlang ("A Rubyist dabbles in today's most exciting programming language"!)...

I felt naturally comfortable with the Erlang way of doing things. This is how I've been writing programs all along. It's feels so nice to finally find a language that abstracts away all the complex behaviors of concurrent network processing. Furthermore, distributed Erlang and the OTP framework are beyond my wildest dreams in terms of what you can build once the underlying problems are all abstracted away.

Now I can finally stop trying to build an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden framework, and start focusing on what I've actually cared about all along: the function.

I would qualify that "underlying problems are all abstracted away" by pointing out the problems are still there, and you still have to deal with them. But OTP provides convenient ways to deal with them more easily, and the Erlang literature explains the problems and the solutions well.

But what's happening? In the last six months or so HTTP overthrows WS-Deathstar far more rapidly than at least I imagined and now Erlang is basking in far more sunshine than I imagined would appear over the next several years.


Lawouach said...

It's a common pattern in IT. A language or framework becomes the new fashion (even if like Erlang it's been there for decades) before becoming old news.

RoR was all the rage a couple of years ago and now it's already part of the past.

Erlang is fantastic but not because lots of people make long, but usually poor in actual information, simply because the common developer today can dream of distributed messaging platform where ten years ago it was more a problem for large companies like banks.

In the Python community, have you looked at Kamaelia? Sure it's a library and I'm not sure it competes with Erlang as a whole but it provides some nice decoupling that Erlang comes with too.

Patrick Logan said...

What Ruby and Rails did, though, is break IT free of the curly braces sociology. Used to be languages that did not resemble C would get skewed looks. When they'd receive attention they would be cast as odd-ball curiosities, far from viable in the mainstream.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.