Erlang killer app?,

Francesco Cesarini <>
Sat Jul 20 23:09:12 CEST 2002

To give my two pennies to the discussion. Telecom systems' 
characteristics include:

* Distribution
* Fault Tolerance
* Massive Concurrency
* Soft Real Time
* Non Stop (For Upgrades / Patch Installation / Crashes)

Those are the characteristics Erlang has inherited, and thus, it is 
suitable to solve most problems in domains exhibiting those 

When bluetail released its first product, Erlang certainly did not have 
name recognition for the domain of problems it was solving. They were 
first out using it in a suitable domain, and cashed in on it. Many other 
start ups are now doing the same, but in other areas.

In my 9 years of working with Erlang, I have seen it used with great 
success in simulations, computer telephony integration, products for 
ISPs, games, 3d modellers, distributed database applications, all 
without any recognition in those area, as it was a language only used 
for embedded telecom control systems. What these non telecom application 
developers were able to do, however, was use the 5 - 10 fold increase in 
productivity to improve their time to market and at the same time easily 
integrating characteristics such as code upgrade and salability during 
runtime, high availability which were previously unheard of or hard to 
solve in those domains. 

One of the great strengths of the language is the ability to quickly put 
together a working prototype. If you are looking at using Erlang in a 
new domain (e-commerce systems sound exciting) but are unsure, test your 
ideas. Design errors, limitations, and flaws should show up at an early 
stage of the development when it is still possible to stop and reverse 
the baby elephant... If your hunch is right, you will have a working 
prototype to show and convince higher management. This strategy has been 
used time after time when Erlang was competing against hundreds of 
documents describing how the problem could be solved using other hyped 


isaac gouy wrote:

>Ulf Wiger wrote:
>>ideal for the flexible and robust messaging 
>>backbones we wanted to build
>Alex Peake wrote:
>>warehouse application is old and the whole system 
>>about to be re-written
>Ulf, given the Erlang community has a depth of
>experience outside of telecomm, perhaps the advantages
>of Erlang aren't well known outside of the telecomm
>community? They aren't well known by people building
>systems which require similar qualities?
>Alex, which bits do you imagine would really use
>Erlangs strengths, which bits would need to be
>implemented in something else? How did you hear about
>>Erlang offers huge productivity gains
>Hmm. I had a big surprise going from Smalltalk to
>Java. We knew that Smalltalk was x10 more productive
>than C++ but thought Smalltalk would only be x2 better
>than Java. It's amazing how much static typing and an
>excess of syntax slow you down ;-)
>So-many Smalltalk systems have been re-written in
>Java, at great cost and reduction of functionality. 
>IMHO mostly it doesn't matter that Smalltalk is hugely
>more productive, or that Erlang is hugely more
>productive. It matters that they have name recognition
>as the best solution for a particular class of
>(And that's why I've been asking about the core
>strengths of Erlang/OTP, and how they can be applied
>outside of Telecomm)
>best wishes, Isaac
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Yahoo! Health - Feel better, live better

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