Erlang for desktop applications?

ke han ke.han@REDACTED
Mon Aug 7 11:09:23 CEST 2006

I think your question isn't so straightforward.
Lets ignore erlang's lack of certain UI library wrappers for a moment  
to think about what a desktop apps' UI will look like in 5 years.
As you stated:

> But, do you see Erlang suitable for developing future (more than 5  
> years
> from now) desktop applications?

A "desktop app" in 5 years will most likely fall into one of 2  
1 - Traditional GUI app...highly integrated UI and domain logic for  
graphics intensive apps (think Photoshop).
2 - 2-tier: View separated from domain logic.  Think of just about  
every next-gen web app being written today (this includes  
replacements for fairly complex and expressive UIs such as Word and  

So, unless you are creating things like Photoshop (I bet we'll see a  
web service replacement for 80% of its' features in the next 5 years)  
or Wings3D, think of the "App UI", not the "Desktop UI".  There are  
many variations on a meme for creating App UIs (in browser, Flash,  
"smart components which talk to servers (local and remote".)
If your app fits into this later category, I'd say erlang is a better  
fit than many languages for the domain part of the app.  The View  
part will be HTML, Javascript, Haxe, Flash, VRML, who knows...this  
new App UI infrastructure stuff "sits on top of / integrated into"  
your Desktop GUI, so the App developer is not concerned at this level.

Adding erlang wrappers to various GUI libraries (GTK, Win32, Cocoa)  
is a straightforward matter.  "How do you really want to build a new  
desktop app (regardless of language)?" is the hard part.

There has been some talk on the yaws list and some here regarding  
dynamic Web UIs.  This is the general direction app developers are  
taking and there will exist / do exist methods to make these apps  
"work like / install like" the desktop apps you are accustomed.

regards, ke han

On Aug 6, 2006, at 10:39 PM, Jacobo García de Polavieja Aguilera wrote:

> Hi everybody:
> I am new to functional programming (just some very little experience
> with Lisp). I got interested in functional programming because of the
> performance related to multiproccessors or multicore systems. And I  
> got
> interested in Erlang over other FP languages because its fame for easy
> parallelism management and its performance compared to Haskell or
> others.
> But, do you see Erlang suitable for developing future (more than 5  
> years
> from now) desktop applications? I know it wasn't designed for this,  
> and
> that there are very important actions like string functions which are
> slow in Erlang... but then I also ran into EX11 and similar projects
> which seem like a little light for my future purpose.
> Could be erlang efficient with desktop related stuff? If not, could  
> you
> recommend other functional languages that fit best that objective?
> I'm looking forward to efficiency on future multicore processors and
> easy concurrency management.
> Thanks all.

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