newbie questions

Håkan Stenholm hokan.stenholm@REDACTED
Thu Aug 17 20:29:30 CEST 2006

Arnaud Bailly wrote:

>Hi to all erlangers,
>I am newcomer on this list and wishes to quickly introduce myself
>before asking some questions. Impatient readers can skip part I.
>I) Background
>I have been aware of erlang's existence
>for several years (since the beginning of my PhD in fact) but never
>took time to really learn it and make something useful. My interest
>for erlang is motivated by;
> - an "theoretical" interest for 1) functional programming languages,
> 2) distributed software development, 3) software reliability
> improvement
> - the will to walk different paths, beyond and over the current
> duality (at least in part of information systems engineering) Java
> vs. Microsoft. I have been doing intensive coding in Java for the
> last 8 years and always felt embarassed by some aspects of the
> language. This has grown to frustration when I started to work in IS
> context for various reasons mainly related to the unnecessary repetitive aspect
> of most computer engineering tasks taking place in such a context and
> the difficulty to promote different ways of thinking.
>Now that I have settled myself as an independent contractor, I want to
>take some time to try other ways and build a serious alternative offer
>around non standard solutions providing improved reliability and
>shorter development time. So I started a small project aimed at
>comparing various solutions for implementing a basic web application
>with an eye towards automated model based code generation, test cases
>generation and eventually trying to use "serious" verification tools
>like model-checkers.
>II) Questions
>Some questions about erlang that I did found answer for in the docs
>(not that I searched very deeply):
> 1. is there any testing framework equivalent to junit in erlang world
> (may be erlangers dont test, but I don't think so :-) ) ? I am also
> thinking about associated tools like code coverage measurements or
> test cases generators...
besides eunit which has already been mentioned, there is also a number 
OTP tools 
like eprof, xref and dialyzer 
that can be used to profile and check code in various ways.

> 2. in the same line of thought, is there something equivalent to
> maven or ant ? Is emake that kind of tool ? 
I'm not particular familiar with ant or maven, but you seam to ask about 
build tools ?
I can't say that I've ever heard of any Erlang specific make tools - 
your best choice is probably to choose one you like and let it call the 
erlc command (with appropriate flags).

note: erlang files are complied indepently and don't require linking, so 
compile times are usualy short - changing a widly used include file 
(.hrl) when using make may, on the other hand lead to recompliation of a 
lot of (.erl) files.

> 3. I read here and there that erlang's support of string is
> inefficient and does not handle international character sets
> (eg. UTF-8 encoding). This may be (or not) an issue for web based
> development. Is this true ? 
There has been a fairly long discussion about this on the mailing list 
recently, search for 'Strings' on the forum 
or at

Erlang strings are encode as latin-1, although the string data type (a 
list of integers),  is flexible enough to handle most encodings - there 
will be some issues with things like case conversion, string comparision 
(if unicode is used) and getting any readable output in the shell, if a 
non-latin-1 encoding is used.

>Thanks a lot and my apologies for being somewhat verbose (java coder
>bad manners :-) )

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