[erlang-questions] Why isn't erlang strongly typed?

Holger Hoffstaette holger@REDACTED
Tue Oct 21 17:12:27 CEST 2008

On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 07:18:52 -0700, Steve Davis wrote:

> I'm sure that there's a simple and convincing answer to this.

No, but that's mostly because you are confusing two things. ;)

> I'm finding myself having to dig into the source code of libraries or
> plough through often erratic documentation all the time which really slows
> down productivity. Am I thinking about this all wrong? Is there a guiding
> principle that will help me as I learn?

This is a consequence of Erlangs incredibly unergonomic function/parameter
naming conventions and has little to do with strong typing (or its
absence). Dynamic/weak typing per se does not preclude ergonomic/intuitive
class/module/function naming conventions; I've written pages of Smalltalk
and Objective-C without looking into the docs even when using mostly
unknown classes (most of the time you can literally guess the method names
and  parameters). Likewise, strong typing is no guarantee for readable
method signatures and consistent code conventions - just look at Java or C.

Unfortunately this and the rather antiquated build/deploy processes are
really big (and unnecessary) inhibitors to more widespread adoption -
which is a shame, because the platform itself is solid and has a lot to


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