[erlang-questions] The Beauty of Erlang Syntax

Philip Fennell <>
Tue Feb 24 15:40:57 CET 2009


Steve,

I whole heartedly agree with you.

For myself I've never really enjoyed Java and for most of my programming
career I've been up to my neck in XSLT so the transition into Erlang was
less of a jump and more of a side-step.

> Erlang is an intensely practical language

Yep, you're right on the money there. IMHO, I find Java, for example,
actually throws obstacles in your way all the time but Erlang, by
contrast, just seems to have the tools for the job and an elegant way of
expressing them.

I have been pottering around with Erlang for the last six months and
have been more than happy with it.


Thank you for putting into good words what's been in the back of my mind
for a while now.


Regards

Philip Fennell


-----Original Message-----
From: 
[mailto:] On Behalf Of Steve Davis
Sent: 24 February 2009 10:25
To: 
Subject: [erlang-questions] The Beauty of Erlang Syntax

Like many people from a Java/C++ background, my first reaction to Erlang
was abhorrence at the syntax. After some months of real-world experience
of actually using Erlang, I feel compelled to make a couple of
observations.

- Erlang has the greatest expressive power of any language I have used
(caveat: I have not used Haskell or any other FP language).

- Erlang is an intensely practical language. The platform libraries make
it very easy to write useful applications.

- Erlang is easy to write... once you know what you are trying to
achieve. The challenge is that it asks you to think hard about what you
actually want to do. Once that part is clear, everything becomes
extremely simple and straightforward. This quality makes this language
extremely powerful and "cruft-free".

- There can be no doubt lambda calculus is "ultimate".  A more trivial
way of saying this is that all computer processing is simply
transforming one bit pattern into another bit pattern f(X) -> X'

- Elegant programming in Erlang is much more of a challenge than with OO
languages where "what is right" is fairly easy to understand.
Erlang feeds the creative soul in a way that's just not evident or truly
possible "in the kingdom of nouns".

- The medium/long term future of hardware cannot be anything but FPGAs
and I cannot imagine any multithreaded dance in Java/C++ that can
possibly keep up with this trend. With Erlang, I feel that I can cope
with the next decade.

I will never willingly program in an imperative language again.

/sd

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