Erlang for desktop applications?

Jacobo G. Polavieja jacobopolavieja@REDACTED
Tue Aug 8 17:48:09 CEST 2006

ke han wrote:
> 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 categories:
> 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 Excel)
> 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.
I don't know if I have fully understood all of the things, so sorry if
you see I didn't get the complete meaning of some part (sorry... not a
native English speaker).

Although I agree with you applications will get more "separated" from
the UI part, I don't quite see it as a whole server+UI thing, at least
as I understand that... Well I really had the (completely hypothetical)
idea of making a UI which the same code could be exported to desktop UI
(like GTK or whatever), web (with XML11) and console. So, in some way,
the implementation would be with the UI code, but that UI would be
accessible in the main three ways (desktop, web, and console).
For that idea... Mono has lots of things to offer, but I'm pretty much
concerned about the performance it can be achieved with Mono when
running on multicore architectures and the ease of the coding to get a
good performance.

Think that when I say desktop apps I refer to a whole bunch of typical
apps you can see in a desktop, not just one app I could have in mind
right now. Think of filemanagers, games, media players and that sort of
apps... And as I've just said to Richard A. O'Keefe, I don't know if
Erlang is also strong in those kind of developments (I don't know if any
of those apps need a lot of concurrency where Erlang could be superior
to C/C++/C#).

Sorry if I'm being a little pain in the neck making so many questions...

Thanks for everything.

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