[erlang-questions] New Book "Erlang Programming" from O'Reilly

Francesco Cesarini <>
Thu Sep 4 13:46:21 CEST 2008

Hi Richard,

Unfortunately, you will probably not get any wiser from the book, but I 
hope your students will love it.  The book covers Erlang in depth. It 
has less contents than Joe's book, but covers them in much more detail. 
As an example, we are dedicating about 20 pages on basic Erlang data 
types (excluding records, funs, binaries, refs, etc) and well over 25 on 
sequential programming (How do you explain recursion to someone coming 
across it the first time?). We are trying to cater not only for 
experienced programmers who are new to Erlang, but also for those who do 
not have a strong computer science background or a lot of programming 
experience. I will be using a first rough draft next week when I teach 
the students at the IT University in Gothenburg. It will be interesting 
to get their feedback and see the results (It gives the saying shoot the 
messenger a complete new meaning :-)).

I am sure O'Reilly will soon publish a table of contents (I think they 
are waiting to send the first draft to the reviewers), but a good 
showcase of what we are covering is in our training materials, as that 
is what we are basing the outline and many of the examples on:
Having developed the training material over a 7 year period, we know 
they work and that the contents and order in which the subjects are 
taken up is optimal. We also plan on a chapters covering the trace BIFs 
and dbg, one on a graphics package (not GS), one on interfacing Erlang 
with other languages (C / Java / Ruby), and one on testing and TDD.

One chapter will be dedicated to OTP behaviours, but we are just 
scratching the surface. Instead, we concentrate on introducing the 
problems and concepts the behaviours solve. That includes supervisors, 
finite state machines, and client server behaviours, all described as 
Erlang processes. To truly understand the power of the OTP design 
patterns, you need to understand the ins and outs of concurrency and 
Erlang. With that in place, OTP will come naturally. We made the 
decision to tackle Erlang first, and use the experiences to tackle OTP 
(While laying the foundations for our readers).  We should to have an 
OTP book out late next year, working on a similar concept (Using our 
training material). Prior to that, however, I really hope the other two 
books looking at advanced Erlang by Manning and Pragmatic will be out. 
They should cover some of your questions.


Richard A. O'Keefe wrote:
> On 3 Sep 2008, at 11:28 pm, Kenji Rikitake wrote:
>> Erlang Programming
>> by Francesco Cesarini and Simon Thompson
>> to be published on December 2008
>> http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596518188
>> (Anybody found the www.oreilly.com link? I didn't.)
> I didn't find much about the book (as opposed to its
> authors) in that page.  What does this book add to
> the old Erlang book and Joe's newer one?  What is the
> intended audience?  Is it going to tell _me_ anything
> I don't know about Erlang (and there is a huge amount
> of OTP I don't understand yet) or is it going to be a
> book that I'll want to give to students?
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