Who is Using Erlang? ...

Ulf Wiger ulf.wiger@REDACTED
Thu Jun 17 14:10:47 CEST 1999

nsi04102-boeke wrote:
> One of the arguments was that our problems were not in the area
> of the used language (C and C++). I never fully understood this: Erlang
> claims to have 5 times smaller code then C, so it should contain 5 times
> less bugs ... but probably I'm naive.

This is similar to my experience. We have seen that the number of
bugs/line is very roughly the same in Erlang as in C/C++. However, the
code volume is much smaller, and thus the total number of bugs is
smaller by roughly the same factor. The same goes for programmer
productivity (roughly the same in man hours/line.)

We have equated this to:

* > 4 times higher programmer productivity
* > 4 times higher program quality

based on actual figures from large projects.

This also gives you:
- shorter time to market
- lower risk by cutting lead times for prototypes
- better risk control by reducing the cost of adjustments and rewrites

We have also seen evidence that Erlang is a much more productive
language than Java for our kind of applications.

Naturally, all this equates to money -- big money. But it's difficult to
prove scientifically that all the above holds.

The naive, but all to common, view is that the choice of programming
language doesn't matter. I've come across this too. The misconception is
that if you run your project right, it doesn't matter what programming
language you choose - or for that matter how good your programmers are.
It's hard to fight this.

I guess people's religion gets in the way. Also, perhaps most big
telecoms companies are still mainly hardware-focused -- software is a
necessary evil, but the hardware is the real product.

But we should just go on fighting the good fight and having fun while
we're at it. It sure feels good doing something you truly believe in
(and seeing practical results that back you up.)

Ulf Wiger, Chief Designer AXD 301      <ulf.wiger@REDACTED>
Ericsson Telecom AB                          tfn: +46  8 719 81 95
Varuvägen 9, Älvsjö                          mob: +46 70 519 81 95
S-126 25 Stockholm, Sweden                   fax: +46  8 719 43 44

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