[erlang-questions] Why do we need modules at all?

Joe Armstrong <>
Tue May 24 16:07:01 CEST 2011

On Tue, May 24, 2011 at 3:38 PM, Max Lapshin <> wrote:

> I don't understand what are you speaking about.
> How do you imagine this magic function namespace in terms of plain files?

There are no plain files. The functions that you edit and manipulate are
stored in a database.

When you need to call a library function you query the database it helps you
find the function
you need from the data in the database - you never know the real name of the
function or anything about
the namespace it's in.

The problem with plain files is that they become unmanageable when there are
lots of them.

A few years ago I had problem with storage - disks weren't big enough - now
I have TBs of
raid storage and the next problem arises - how to find stuff. Finding my own
code is difficult -
it's just a matter of searching 43 K erlang modules on my local disk -
finding other peoples
code is worse - Google and "ask a friend" is the best solution I know of.

As systems get very large the notion of files and modules seems to break
down, to be
replaced by "search-able stuff in a database" - I'm suggesting that the
smallest unit that
should be searchable/reusable/discoverable should be the function. And that
to make it
searchable we need to add a lot of meta data to the functions.
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