[erlang-questions] Thoughts on EHE - the PHP killer

Ulf Wiger ulf@REDACTED
Sat Feb 18 16:30:16 CET 2012

On 18 Feb 2012, at 16:13, Joe Armstrong wrote:

> I was thinking about this: In theory having a watertight
> barrier between logic and presentation seems like
> a good idea - but is it?

To quote Yogi Berra (or Einstein, or van de Snepscheut):

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

I've found that mixing Erlang into the Web design part drastically reduces the pickings when you need a professional web designer. The erlang community to-date hasn't attracted the kind of people who live to design beautiful HTML pages.

The cousin of this train of though is the idea to put Node.js on the server. It makes perfect sense in one way: JavaScript is the one programming language a Web designer MUST be good at. Unfortunately, Node.js is a very bad server-side programming environment.

Still, the question is how much that hurts you. PHP isn't a great language, but great websites have been built with it, mainly because enough great web designers make the effort to learn PHP.

Of course, for a team of Erlang programmers, the fact that they may be poor web page designers to start with isn't exactly helped by the fact that they have to build their web pages in a programming language they don't master well. OTOH, they can be greatly helped by stealing good open source web designs from the web. Doing so should be easier with an enlive-style approach.

Also, if you build a functional prototype, you can get away with a "developer-ugly" web UI, as long as you can hire a pro to make it beautiful later on. If you can stick to mainstream web design techniques as closely as possible, this step will be easier (or less impossible) to take.

Ulf W
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