[erlang-questions] Benchmarks

Fred Hebert <>
Wed Jan 13 19:31:17 CET 2010

On Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 11:19 AM, Joe Armstrong <> wrote:

> In my experience most resistance is due to non-spoken non-technical
> reasons.  The primary reason is usually fear of failure (FOF). FOF is
> a very strong motivating force.
> One excellent method of reducing FOF is tell "success stories" - tell
> 'em about the successful Erlang projects - how quickly they wrote the
> code how quickly they crushed the opposition, the great amounts of
> money they made (:-)). Tell them about the failures that using *some
> other language* had in similar circumstances.
> Perhapse the project will fail if they do not use Erlang, and
> what if the opposition does it in Erlang before us and we're bankrupt ...
> there's a thought ...
> People like stories, so tell then stories of Erlang successes - this
> will reduce FOF.
> /Joe
> I must agree with that. Success stories do play a big role, if not the
biggest of all. Some of my bosses started telling me they'd like me to learn
about Erlang because facebook used it for their chat system. And they're
facebook, so it works, right?

There is another level that is more about the developer, which is the
environment: how modern is the language (I don't care if your 80s mainframe
was programmed in whatever language, I want to know what's going on right
now), what the community is like, what libraries are available, how easy it
is to get into, etc.

I think Erlang is trailing behind a bit in that respect. The site looks
outdated (at least there's a new one being prepared), the doc still uses
frames (see http://erldocs.com for a modern model), etc. These subjects have
been mentioned many times and things are getting done. The language is a bit
hard to get into, maybe because of the lack of free information except for
countless ring benchmarks in blog posts. This is why I've spent hours adding
examples to rosettacode.org and it's why I'm writing Learn You Some Erlang.
This is why other people are writing books/guides like Luke Venediger's
Erlang for Skeptics, too. Some users spend a lot of time answering questions
on stackoverflow to help to.

As a whole, I believe the Erlang community is doing a great job at making
things better. Moving to github has been a huge move, the old guard is
awesome for answers on the mailing list and the guys on the irc channels are
helpful. CEAN and trapexit are other excellent sources for programmers. The
guys at http://ideone.com/ has a feature to run Erlang code from the web (à
la codepad.org), there are countless interesting products and tools. I do
believe this is the way to really make Erlang a better choice for developing
new products.

One of the only things missing in the adoption of Erlang, I think, is the
amount of job offers for it. I've learned Erlang out of sheer interest, but
I'm unlikely to work anywhere using that skill except if I were to move a
few hundred kilometers away from everyone I know. Now, nobody's going to
start hiring for Erlang devs in my region if there's nobody to hire...
I don't think the community itself can do much about that though.

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