[erlang-questions] What are BIFs?

Masklinn <>
Tue Oct 6 01:17:22 CEST 2009


On 6 Oct 2009, at 00:11 , Robert Virding wrote:
> There has always been much confusion about what a BIF really is, how  
> they
> relate to the Erlang language. An example of this was a discussion  
> earlier
> this year when someone wanted to have some more functions in lists  
> coded in
> C and so become part of Erlang. Saying that they are functions coded  
> in C
> just tell us how they are implemented not what they *are*.

You might want to check out how Python's documentation/spec handles  
the similar concept of "builtin functions" (which actually aren't all  
functions, some are type constructors but in python constructors and  
functions are used the same way so…). Python's builtin functions are  
core functions existing in the "default" namespace (and therefore  
always available without the need to prefix them with a namespace  
qualifier).


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