[erlang-questions] cost of integrating 3rd party SW

Ulf Wiger <>
Sat May 24 14:55:01 CEST 2008

Perhaps somewhat related to the "RPC is bad" thread,
do any of you know of any reasonably systematic
discussions about whether or not Erlang is good or
bad at interfacing with 3rd party components?

It's something that pops up every once in a while,
e.g. in the Facebook chat server article: that combining
Erlang with components written in other languages is

I know that sometimes, decisions have been made to
rather write a component from scratch in Erlang, rather
than interfacing with some COTS component, based on
the assumption that it will be both cheaper and better
to do this than to deal with the 3rd party component.
This is always a hard sell, and usually meets with the
exclamation: "aha! Erlang is bad at interfacing with other

And of course, any programmer will always opt to write
something from scratch rather than reuse something
that someone else has written, right?  ;-)

What I'm after is a more sober and objective account,
based on real experience and (ideally) cost comparisons.
I'm perfectly ok if the conclusion is that Erlang indeed
does need to improve.

Cost is of course not the only parameter. Performance,
robustness, debugging and maintenance, impedance
mismatch (and if so, what is the preferred solution?
Keep Erlang or throw it out?)

Ulf W

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