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

Edmond Begumisa <>
Mon Mar 12 16:38:35 CET 2012


My impression is that it boils down to marketing.

.Net gained acceptance in the business world fairly quickly by *both*  
developers and managers.

If Erricson were in the business of selling software (which they are not),  
and put together a group of spin doctors with a fat budget, things would  
be different.

I remember a debate I had with a Microsoftie who was convinced VMs were  
evil (and thus hated Java and all interpreted languages). A couple of year  
later when .Net came out and I "reminded" him that he's supposed to hate  
it, he rebuffed by claiming "No, you see .Net is 'managed' code. Just like  
in a business you don't want to have unmanaged employees running around  
doing as they please -- that's dangerous. You want to only have 'managed'  
employees!" This from an otherwise excellent programmer.

Developers are not above falling for spin, much as we like to think we are.

- Edmond -

On Mon, 12 Mar 2012 14:00:45 +1100, Shahrdad Shadab <>  
wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM, envelopes envelopes
> <>wrote:
>
>> scala has the potential to successor java and also integrate all legacy
>> java applications. Though many of its features are copied from Erlang.
>> On Mar 11, 2012 5:01 PM, "Matthew Evans" <>  
>> wrote:
>>
>>>  Pretty much this. I've recently been introduced to Java, and
>>> unfortunately what most of the pointy-haired managers don't realize is
>>> there is a huge difference between Java the language (which isn't that
>>> bad), and Java the application environment (which is complex and  
>>> terrible).
>>> Once you get Java+Spring+Hibernate+20 other frameworks and libraries  
>>> you
>>> are left with a VERY hard to maintain and complex application. In the  
>>> end
>>> it often only has a small amount of real Java - the rest is pages of
>>> impossible to maintain XML.
>>>
>>> See this blog:
>>> http://www.jillesvangurp.com/2009/10/07/server-side-development-sucks/
>>>
>>> The other problem is one of control. Even if the managers, and the rest
>>> of a development team don't know Java, it looks very familiar to C++  
>>> and
>>> the C family of languages. If you propose Erlang, they see that the
>>> language looks very different, and that scares people. Suddenly they  
>>> are
>>> not in control anymore, feel less valuable to the organization; it  
>>> makes
>>> them feel threatened.
>>>
>>> We as a community can help to remove many of the negative perceptions
>>> people have about Erlang. It's perceived to be slow, although in many  
>>> cases
>>> that's caused by lousy code from newbies (JIT would be nice though ;-).
>>> It's also hard as a newbie to write good code since the concepts are  
>>> very
>>> different. You can knock up a simple Erlang application quite quickly,  
>>> but
>>> it might not perform that well. What you end up with are newbies  
>>> producing
>>> poor code, getting frustrated and giving up. I've read many stories on
>>> Reddit and similar places of companies starting an Erlang project,  
>>> getting
>>> bad results and throwing it out. It give a very bad impression on the
>>> language. More often than not someone will come along later, refactor  
>>> the
>>> code, and get stellar performance - but by then it's too late.
>>>
>>> I think tidying up some modules, and getting the word out there on how  
>>> to
>>> write proper Erlang apps would help a lot. Things like E2
>>> http://e2project.org/ are a good start along this path. Projects like
>>> rebar make app. packaging simpler. Basically we need
>>> more consistency across the board. Also having more languages running  
>>> on
>>> BEAM could make the take-up easier (as well as Erjang on the JVM).
>>>
>>> Finally I would say this. As Torben mentioned, no one gets fired for
>>> choosing Java. More to the point, no one gets fired for choosing  
>>> Oracle. I
>>> think Ericsson is doing a more than stellar job of maintaining Erlang.  
>>> But
>>> is this also a problem? Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if  
>>> Erlang
>>> was "owned" by Ericsson, Klarna, Basho, Trifork, Erlang Solutions,
>>> Springsource/VMware (RabbitMQ). Basically have it owned by a  
>>> consortium of
>>> companies. Would that make managers more comfortable taking on Erlang?
>>>
>>> I could go on, but that's my 2 cents for now.
>>>
>>> Matt
>>>
>>> ------------------------------
>>> Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012 22:04:33 +0100
>>> From: 
>>> To: 
>>> CC: 
>>> Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] Erlang is the best choice for building
>>> commercial application servers
>>>
>>> Nobody has been fired for choosing Java.
>>>
>>> See Mike Williams slides from the London Erlang Factory 2011:
>>> http://www.erlang-factory.com/conference/London2011/speakers/MikeWilliams
>>>
>>> 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.
>>>
>>> Cheers,
>>> Torben
>>>
>>> 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
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> erlang-questions mailing  
>>> ://erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
>>>
>>>
>>> -- http://www.linkedin.com/in/torbenhoffmann
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________ erlang-questions  
>>> mailing
>>> list 
>>> http://erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> 
>>> http://erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
>>>
>>>
> 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.
> The similar reason is behind creation of C# and .net which is a close  
> copy
> of java and J2ee (Just because of competition between Microsoft and Sun).
> If I want to go a little bit deeper to the heart of the problem (at least
> in North America) big companies like Microsoft or Oracle kind of
> derailed IT from its normal path. You would never see such negative
> influence of money and power in other fields like applied math or physics
> because the result of innovation in these fields isn't directly  
> applicable
> in business problems. Here we are dealing with business man's decision
> override right technical decisions.This is just trouble. This causes many
> practitioners use their mind and time to understand and maintane systems
> that are implemented in technologies which were not the right solution
> since the day one.
> Even business is currently paying for such bad decisions that they make  
> in
> this filed by spending too much money for maintenance of the systems that
> are implemented with non-suitable technologies.
> 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.
>
> Best Regards
> Shahrdad
>


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