[erlang-questions] Support for newcomers and the popularity of Erlang

Wojciech Knapik wmknapik@REDACTED
Mon Mar 19 18:31:55 CET 2012

On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM, Fred Hebert <mononcqc@REDACTED> wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM, Wojciech Knapik <wmknapik@REDACTED>wrote:
>> Hello everyone
>> I have a question regarding mnesia that the books I have and the
>> tutorials I found do not answer.
>> I tried IRC, but was refered here. I tried the Manning forum, but was
>> refered here. And here I was completely ignored. Not even a "go away",
>> nothing. I had to check the list archives to make sure my emails reached
>> their destination.
> I was one of the people who tried to help you on IRC; I'm generally busy
> with my own things and not *that* knowledgeable about Mnesia, sorry I
> couldn't do more.

I'm sensing this will be a common theme with mnesia. I guess not a lot of
people feel their knowledge of mnesia is very strong. It's a little
surprising, since it's such an impressive feature of Erlang.

> The referral from (IRC | Some site) to the Mailing list is usually
> something done because people wherever you are do not know the answer or do
> not have the resources to help you. The mailing list is where a lot of
> veteran Erlang programmers take their time to reply (whenever they have
> time), including some people from the OTP team itself, working at
> implementing the language. It's an escalation of tiers for help, but
> nothing comes really fast and yet again, answers may not come at all.

The presence of so many people involved in the creation of the language,
OTP and the books about both on this list is a great thing. It only
furthers people's expectations though ;]

>> I know this isn't some paid support list and you have no obligation to
>> help anyone, but with a community of this size, you decide about the
>> language's popularity by answering (or not answering) people's questions.
> Many of us do our fair share. People here work on some of the 'killer
> apps' that more to Erlang's name than it had at Ericsson (although Ericsson
> people are on here too!). You've got the contributors of all major Erlang
> servers, many databases written in Erlang, message queues, build systems,
> regulars from many corporations (Klarna, etc.). I myself decided to write
> Learn You Some Erlang, and you've got other people on here who do
> professional training, contribute to a lot of open source projects, work on
> the core Erlang repositories themselves, etc.
> The community has a noticeable size, but it also has a *lot* of work to
> do and being done constantly. The same community that does a lot of this
> work also tries to write their own doc and come in here and do support (and
> ask for it when they need it).
> I understand this isn't exactly relevant to your problems, but I would say
> the community is not yet large enough to have too many resources and plenty
> of leeway for mailing list support.

Of course. I get it. I must admit, I needed to draw your attention a little
bit, hence the slightly provocative post ;]

> If you manage to solve your problem, I do invite you to stay on the list
> and help people who need help in the future.

Oh, I definitely will!

>> I'm now part of a group of 9 developers undertaking a rather large
>> project and Erlang is, in my opinion, the perfect fit for us. Most other
>> members of the group are beginning to see this too. The only problem is
>> that none of us know this language. Sure, we're reading the books (and
>> they're excellent btw), but you know that books only go so far...
>> I'd like nothing more than to stick to Erlang for this project, I've been
>> a fan of functional languages for years, but we've only written a page of
>> code and we've already run into a problem that noone seems to want, or be
>> able to help us with.
>> We all know a number of languages and make a living developing code in
>> them, so the temptation to switch to something we're familiar with, where
>> support will not be a problem, is pretty big. I'm guessing this is a very
>> popular scenario when Erlang is being considered for a new project (once
>> you get past the fact that everyone will have to learn a new language and,
>> in most cases, a new programming paradigm).
> Switching to a language you know might be a valid approach if you can't
> get what you need (and the help currently given in this thread isn't
> enough). Getting your products out is the most important thing, I figure.

Well, one of MY major goals with this project is to have fun learning
Erlang, I'm not really interested in writing this in C++, so I need to make
sure we can work without worrying about being left completely alone with
our problems a few months down the road.

> I just hope this wouldn't turn into a blog post about 'how the Erlang
> community is unfit for newcomers' or something like that :)

Hehe, no, certainly not.

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