[erlang-questions] Erlang is the best choice for building commercial application servers
Mon Mar 12 04:43:56 CET 2012
Shahrdad Shadab wrote:
> Thanks everybody for your valuable comments, What I got from your
> comments is basically comes down to the very point
> that the decision of picking java/j2ee over Erlang is most business
> driven than computer science / technology driven.
> Currently I don't see any solution to this problem unless IT's point
> of view respected by line of business and business decision makers
> don't cross their red lines and invade IT realm.
Let me preface this by noting that I'm about to commit to Erlang for a
But... in fairness, picking a language is NOT just a computer science or
technology decision. When one is contemplating investing millions of
dollars in developing software that has to be maintained over a decade
or more, the decision is far more an operational one than a technical
one. Picking the "best" technology is far less important than
considerations such as: Will anyone be supporting this language in 10
years? What kind of tools are available? Can I hire programmers and
systems administrators who are familiar with the language and run-time
environment? In short, one is evaluating the ecosystem surrounding the
language, far more than the language itself.
Betting on IBM ("you can't lose your job for going with IBM") has proven
a pretty good strategy for decades. DEC and Wang are long gone, IBM is
still around. I expect the same will be true of Microsoft. Who knows
with Apple - they're likely to be around, but will they be a computer
vendor, or an entertainment company in 15 years?
Where languages are concerned, Fortran and COBOL had LONG periods in the
sun. For a long time, it looked like PL/1 and Ada would be their
successors - they certainly had strong backing from both major vendors
and the world's largest customer. And, while LISP certainly has its
fans (and still does), C seems to have become dominant for an awfully
long time (in my opinion, it's a horridly useless language, but good
tooling, a lot of coders, and tremendous cross-platform capabilities
seem to have won the day). For that matter, if you're writing code for
the iPhone or iPad, your language choice is dictated for you.
Ten years ago, if I were betting millions of dollars on a new system,
Java sure would have looked a lot safer than Erlang (and probably still
does). At the time (I may be off by a few years), Ericsson was all set
to kill Erlang - it would have been crazy to bet any kind of major
system on it. It was a positively brilliant move on Joe Armstrong's
part to open source Erlang and build a larger community around it. That
makes it a much safer choice today - but the existence of a robust
ecosystem is relatively recent, and it's still a LOT easier to hire Java
coders (or C, or PHP, or even Ruby coders) than to find experienced
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is. .... Yogi Berra
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