Erlang Development Environment

Hakan Stenholm <>
Wed Mar 7 15:15:17 CET 2001


> From: Sean Hinde <>
> To: "'Hakan Stenholm'" <>, 
> Subject: RE: Erlang Development Environment 
> Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 13:47:46 -0000 
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> 
> Hakan,
> 
> > I don't mind a nicer enviroment, but I feel that a thight 
> > integration between 
> > dev. enviroment and the erlang language/VM is a bad idea for 
> > several reasons:
> > * it should be possible to use erlang with a shell and a 
> > texteditor of your 
> > choice for portablity reasons.
> > * gui interfaces can be slower (to perfrom certain tasks) 
> > than command line
> > * I like the emacs(to edit) + shell(run and compile) + 
> > netscape(read doc) 
> > combination becouse it works just same for allmost any 
> > language: erlang, java, C 
> 
> I didn't envisage that any of these things would go away,

<paranoid_mode> I dont either but I don't like the thought that one could end up 
with a clumsy sluggish "standard" one must use. </paranoid_mode>

> and Erlang is a
> pretty good reason to download and learn to drive emacs.. I do think though
> that at least a dedicated erlang editor with:
> 
> 1. Function name completion on tab,
> 2. 'f1' to take you to the detailed doc for that function
> 3. or even just bring up the possible function headers with the names of the
> variables (kind of like you get when entering an equation in M$ Excel) -
> this could even work without access to any docs and for our own functions in
> our own modules in the current path.
> 4. Click to jump to the function implementation.
> 5. .. Take a look at Visual C++ or some of those things and steal (without
> breaking any software copyright laws of course ;) ) the best and most
> relevant ideas.

nice ideas but I suppouse this will require the creation of a dedicated erlang 
source text editor ?
> 
> would be quite a bit nicer. One even hears rumours that the majority of
> progammers in at least parts of a certain large Erlang using telecoms
> supplier don't even use emacs but instead use a wide array of vi, textpad,
> notepad etc.

:o

> 
> One quick win could be to at least have searchable documentation.

It would also be nice if the current hmtl version had a index of functions (like 
the OTP books) and keywords and not only a list of modules.

> 
> > Note: it's a lot of (redundant ?) work to make a system that 
> > does what emacs + 
> > shell + netscape do well - I suppouse one could do some kind 
> > of framework that 
> > simply uses these applications (perhaps another texteditor though ?). 
> 
> True, much work, and it would only be worth it if we ended up with something
> much better. An interesting project also..
> 
Yes thats what worries me a bit, one doesn't simply get a better user interface 
by adding graphics ontop of it. So to do this well would require a considerable 
amount of work, it's more than simply adding some gui code - gui responsiveness 
should be snappy and the layout (placement of buttons, windows, use of contex 
menues ...) of the gui should be well thought out.
You'll also need to update a tool like this after each (major) OTP release so 
that documentation is up to date and things that (roughly) do what the erlang 
emacs mode does works properly.

> - Sean
> 
> 
> 
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