[erlang-questions] Erlang is the best choice for building commercial application servers

Torben Hoffmann torben.lehoff@REDACTED
Sun Mar 11 22:04:33 CET 2012

Nobody has been fired for choosing Java.

See Mike Williams slides from the London Erlang Factory 2011:

Digging a bit deeper it comes down to risk management and most big 
companies has a strong dislike for anything new and different since that 
reeks risk to them.
Take a look at all the start-ups in the US that is using Erlang and 
asking for Erlangers. There Erlang has been chosen since it is the right 
fit for the problem at hand.

For a big company with a lot of legacy Java code and people trained in 
Java it is far from obvious that a switch to Erlang will be the right 
choice. I would actually get a bit nervous if management accepted such a 
shift without a thorough investigation and even if that investigation 
gave a go-ahead to do a shift I would be nervous since such a 
fundamental break with the past only happens when a company is staring 
into the abyss of a pending bankruptcy!!

I was one of the two guys behind a product made in Erlang in Motorola. 
One of the main reasons for getting the go-ahead to that project was 
that we were building a new product and did not have to throw anything out.
Eventually we shipped the product as a beta to a single customer, but 
the reluctance to bet on something as strange as Erlang for a "real" 
contract is still around and I will actually bet on the final product 
being written from scratch in C or Java since that is what the managers 
and old school architects feel most at ease with!

The history of technology is full of this kind of stories... and one day 
some new technology will come along and overturn whatever kingdom Erlang 
might have build. The circle of life continues.


On 11/3/12 18:09 , Shahrdad Shadab wrote:
> When I was learning Erlang and understanding its capabilities I really 
> cannot find a satisfactory answer to the question that
> why in North America companies like former BEA, former Sun, Oracle , 
> ... use Java to build commercial application servers instead of Erlang?
> From technical perspective such decision doesn't make any sense to me 
> for following reasons:
> _Java is not a fault tolerant.
> _Java performance is nowhere near Erlang.
> _Concurrent programming in Java is a pain.
> _J2ee Technology introduced as add on to java to make communication 
> cross servers possible (i.e web services  XML SCHEMA, WSDL) is 
> unreasonably and grotesquely complicated. (This complication  is 
> dictated by the technology and not by the problem domain)
> _Java is not distributed language (No asynch communication is possible 
> without JMS, also RMI stub solution is more complicated than it should 
> be).
> and many more reasons I can list here.
> Thanks in advance
> Shahrdad
> -- 
> Software Architect & Computer Scientist
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> erlang-questions mailing list
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