Thanks for help, comments on starting Erlang

Jonathan Coupe <>
Tue Feb 25 13:48:52 CET 2003


I'd like to thank everyone for their help with my problem with spawn last
week - especially Luke for his suggestions regarding the use of spawn_link
and SASL, to make it obvious when spawn has failed because a module or
function doesn't exist. (I still feel that spwan is a candy machine
interface however - couldn't it be made to return "false" in such cases? But
I'm probably missing something here.)

Comments on starting Erlang -

I've now been able to spend a couple of days programming Erlang. The
circumstances weren't ideal - the only reason I had the time was that I had
too serious a case of flu to be trustworthy writing production code - but
I'm still deeply impressed. Erlang is the first language I've seen that is a
real advance on Lisp and Smalltalk. Particular highlights:

-- Superb choice of core concepts, beautifully integrated. Messages, pattern
matching, concurrency and FP are wonderfully synergistic in theory, and have
been made so in practice. Most importantly, they feel non-restrictive and
like they should support good design across a wide range of domains without
having to write "dirty code." (A good language should be a good design
tool - it should provide mental tools for thinking about the problem, and
practical ones for allowing guiding experiments.)

-- Very clean, very readable code - close to the idea of an executeable
specification document.

-- Case statements using tuples can replace some truly awful nesting.

-- gs is an unusually pleasant Tk interface.

-- CPE is an excellent language book: crystal clear writing and code,
excellent examples, no padding.

-- Good support for Windows, including a strong debugger.

*And* the emacs mode works folding.el...

- Jonathan Coupe

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