[erlang-questions] Erlang Process Notation?

Garrett Smith <>
Mon Dec 17 16:45:15 CET 2012

On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 1:51 AM, Max Bourinov <> wrote:
> Hi Erlangers,
> I am wondering if there is any notation for Erlang processes? I want to use
> it to describe my systems visually. Something like UML class diagrams but
> for Erlang (I know that class diagram is not the best example).
> p.s.: I heavily use sequence diagrams and they help a lot.

This was a question I had once a while back. After a few years working
with Erlang, I haven't seen anything that I personally would consider
all that useful.

But I have seen complex Erlang systems -- that work! All without a
single diagram.

Does *not* having sophisticated design tools actually us build
sophisticated systems?

This sounds like the start of a Zen meditation :)

But in my experience, there's a certain threshold of complexity that
signals "stop and rethink". Then I work very hard to avoid that
complexity -- even at the expense of functionality. I know that
software that reaches that threshold is garbage, not because it's
complex, but because *I* don't understand it.

Will a diagram help my brain in that case? For me, no. Never. Only
working software that I can see and understand will help me.

Of course everyone's different.

Between functions and processes (actors, agents, services, etc.)
Erlang gives you the ability to create small, easily understandable
components that, when assembled, create stunningly complex, hard to
understand systems -- that work surprisingly well.

But of course if diagrams help, use them! But do you need a
specialized notation?


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