[erlang-questions] Erlang... Newsletter?

Motiejus Jakštys <>
Sun Oct 21 19:51:15 CEST 2012


This issue was raised many times in this mailing list, and I stumble on
it over and over again.

As we know, OTP has many well-hidden pearls, that oft times you learn
about only after implementing your own (or, unfortunately, never). Same
for third-party Erlang libraries and applications, which often do not
get the attention they are worth.

I suggest a weekly* email to this mailing list**, which would present a
"product" from one of these categories:
1. In OTP, application building blocks.
2. In OTP aids for coding, testing, profiling, debugging.
3. Third-party library, an application building block.
4. Third party aids for coding, testing, profiling, debugging.

A write-up should have short description how it can be used, why, and a
link for more information. If applicable, with code examples or anything
you see fit. It should be lightly readable, kind of one that you can
absorb while you are having breakfast. Something that takes <3 minutes
to read and sticks.

Purpose of it is for everyone to see that a certain thing exists, and
remember that you have seen something similar when you actually need it.


For start, I suggest making it round-robin per category. If we see that
we have enough content to write, we can put 2 items per email (from
distinct categories).

Every email should go to a publicly available site. My suggestion is
github wiki, because it can be git fetched and pushed and I Markdown is
only half bad.

Target audience is somebody who has read a textbook about Erlang (or
LYSEFGG, for that matter). You should not speak about gen_fsm, mnesia or
running EUnit tests. The goal is to introduce what an average Erlanger
might not know. For example:
1. gen_event, inets, pg2, global
2. percept, observer, dbg, dialyzer, xref
3. piqi, ranch, apache thrift, gproc
4. PropEr, BenchErl, redbug, vimerl, wrangler

Questions for everyone:

1. While I can write about some things myself, participation of others
   is essential. Would you be interested in reading this, or would you
   create a filter which marks it as spam? Honesty and strong language
   in answers to this question are most welcome.
2. Would you submit a 3-minute reading about part of OTP or your
   favourite tool?

For now I have no idea how to answer a question "who posts this week",
but I think this question will answer itself as time goes. Remember,
more content -- better for everyone.

To get an idea how a write-up might look like, I made an example about
piqi, one of the best tools for Erlang RPC services out there. Anton,
sorry if something is incorrect, I tried to do my best.

Piqi example

Piqi — a powerful data definition language. It is specially designed to
be used with Piq (data representation language, kind of JSON, but
structured and looks different), but also works as a schema language for
other data formats including JSON, XML and Protocol Buffers binary

When you should use it
When implementing a web API, often you have to expose an external
interface, which *must* be formally defined. Piqi gives you ability to
define an interface, which can be used by several transports:
* Google Protocol Buffers
* Piq (the piqi transport)

Note that both XML and Google Protocol Buffers support interface
definitions. But then you are stuck with a single transport. Piqi gives
you flexibility to use any transport for the same data definition.

More information
Official website: http://piqi.org/
A biased introduction: http://m.jakstys.lt/tech/2012/04/erlmpc-and-the-awesomeness-of-piqi/

[*]: /biweekly/monthly. It just has to be periodic and not too frequent.
[**]: or a blog-like thing, or "planet Erlang".. Format does not matter.
      Periodicity and content are what matters.

Motiejus Jakštys

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list