[erlang-questions] Is there a good source for documentation on BEAM?

Robert Virding <>
Fri Jun 1 18:34:58 CEST 2012


Or to make it more concise:

When you don't understand something you can't write the documentation, while when you understand you see no need to write the documentation. So you never write the documentation.

Robert

----- Original Message -----
> Excellent!  This should be codified into Armstrong's Law of
> Technology
> Obfuscation!
> 
> 
> On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 4:47 AM, Joe Armstrong <>
> wrote:
> > I think it works like this:
> >
> >    1) first you don't understand how the X works (X=Beam, JVM, X11,
> > ... you name it)
> >    2) You struggle - and think -  google and have a hot bath
> >    3) Eureka - bath flows over
> >    4) Now you can understand it - and you can also remember why you
> > could not understand it
> >    5) Now it's easy you understand it
> >    6) You see no reason to document it since it's obvious
> >
> > Round about 4) there is a small window of opportunity to explain to
> > other people how it works.
> > Once you get to 6) it's very difficult to remember what it felt
> > like
> > at point 2) and consequently difficult
> > to write decent documentation.
> >
> > /Joe
> >
> >
> > On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM, Michael Turner
> > <> wrote:
> >> "Actually, I don't think such docs are all _that_ crucial -- who
> >> really needs to know, except a small number of VM implementors?"
> >>
> >> Aren't Erlang's chances of greater mindshare improved by making it
> >> easier to become a VM implementor? I doubt very much that Java
> >> would
> >> be where it is today had it not been for clear VM specification.
> >> That's not to say that Erlang should follow in all of Java's
> >> footsteps, even if it could. But I have to say I was a boggled to
> >> learn that you can't find out what the VM opcodes mean without
> >> reading
> >> the source (and maybe not even then, if the source contains bugs
> >> vis-a-vis some idealized machine model.)
> >>
> >> -michael turner
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 5:46 PM, Thomas Lindgren
> >> <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>>________________________________
> >>>> From: Jonathan Coveney <>
> >>>>To: 
> >>>>Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 8:39 AM
> >>>>Subject: [erlang-questions] Is there a good source for
> >>>>documentation on BEAM?
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>This question seems to come up now and again, and it's surprising
> >>>>to me that a crucial part of the documentation isn't better
> >>>>documented. Is there a reason that it is the case? Is the reason
> >>>>that there is no VM spec to give the devs the flexibility to
> >>>>change the intermediate layer without having to worry about
> >>>>backwards compatibility to the degree that Java does?
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Actually, I don't think such docs are all _that_ crucial -- who
> >>> really needs to know, except a small number of VM implementors?
> >>> (And they should read the source to get at all the goodies.) But
> >>> perhaps someone on the list might be moved to do a tutorial
> >>> presentation on an Erlang Factory or something?
> >>>
> >>> (By the way, I too assume not doing it is to avoid getting bogged
> >>> down into minutiae.)
> >>>
> >>> If you want to learn more about some of the intellectual roots,
> >>> try these:
> >>> http://wambook.sourceforge.net/
> >>>
> >>> http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=188051
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Best regards,
> >>> Thomas
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> erlang-questions mailing list
> >>> 
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> >> 
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