Erlang is getting too big

Sean Hinde sean.hinde@REDACTED
Mon Oct 13 15:46:24 CEST 2003

On Monday, October 13, 2003, at 01:38  pm, Joe Armstrong wrote:

>> Hi,
>> An observation from the trenches.
>> There are huge problems out in the real world getting companies (or
>> even other departments) to adopt Erlang. One of the arguments in 
>> favour
>> of Erlang has been that it is a "small" language so the overhead of
>> learning it and, vastly more important, supporting the applications
>> written in it is small.
> On Mon, 13 Oct 2003, Sean Hinde wrote:
> Yes
>> This is no longer the case, and from what I see on the mailing list 
>> and
>> in conferences there is a strong push towards adding more obfuscation
>> to an already large and (for C++ types) confusing language.
> I think there is a lot of talk here but not much action :-)

I think there is and has been quite a bit of action since the bit 
syntax. Duplicate guards, much new syntactic sugar for record 
operations #rec{_ = xx}, Java style module naming, soon to be more 
syntactic sugar for guards, Parameterised modules.. Some of these new 
features have led to head scratching and questions to me from folks 
here learning Erlang in the last few weeks. I think we *are* in severe 
danger of making the core language "too big".

We haven't "taken anything out of the language" to add any of these 
things, and none of them add new capabilities to the language. All of 
them must be understood by anyone learning Erlang, and already they 
cannot all be taught in a week.

The questions coming to me are from people who have been on their 
Erlang course and simply didn't have time to cover all of the language 


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