[erlang-questions] Beginners tutorials

Federico Carrone federico.carrone@REDACTED
Thu Jun 12 18:15:25 CEST 2014

On Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 12:10 PM, Loïc Hoguin <essen@REDACTED> wrote:

> >The simple nodejs example works because it's a nodejs example and not a
> Javascript example. Someone who >doesn't know Javascript (pretty much
> equivalent to someone who doesn't know programming at all) won't
> >understand it. In particular it has a number of objects in it, and these
> are not what you start learning a language >with.

I think most devs from other languages understand pretty quickly that
nodejs example even if they don't know javascript. I think with Erlang the
issue is that, like you said Loic, you have to learn quite a few new
things. I don't think that is bad. While learning Erlang I have learnt a
LOT of things that are really useful not only for developing in Erlang.
However we have to accept that so that we can try to do the best for

> >Most people who look at Erlang necessarily have to learn a number of
> things that people who look at nodejs don't. >You can't dumb it down as
> much as nodejs can.

For the last eight or nine years I have worked with C, C++, Java, Python,
Ruby and Javascript. Even if the languages were different, it was not
difficult to move from one to the other. Sure, I had to learn some new
stuff, specially how to do things on that particular language/community.
With Erlang I had to learn a lot more than a new syntax. It was a huge list
of new and beautiful concepts. Even if we "can't dumb" things as much as
nodejs tutorial can, we have to do our best. I think cowboy/cowboy
guide/cowboy examples (even if some are outdated) are a great step into
dumbing it down as much as we can.

However I think we can do even better. I am not saying that Loic, Joe,
francesco, Fred, J Louis, etc have not done enough! When I say "we" I am
talking specially about newcomers. In my case, I think that there are a lot
of great books (specially learn you some erlang, programming erlang and
erlang programming) about Erlang that explain all the concepts and parts of
the language. However I think there should be a good series of posts, or
even a book, more like Hands on Nodejs. A good tutorial/book where you
start creating a system, instead of learning about message passing and
erlang basic types. Instead of explaining every detail before using new
concepts, instead of going from little things to a big system, you use them
and then you explain them in some detail. I think this is the best way to
learn and get people excited in the process.

That's why a few days ago I started writing a series of posts (and
hopefully a small book) with a few teammates from my company, Inaka, about
how to create a comment system (like http://disqus.com/) and a really
simple messaging system to be used by iOS, Android or web clients (I am
building one in Erlang for http://whisper.sh/ so I will use what I
learnt) from scratch. Instead of learning about all the Erlang basic types,
message passing, etc, you start creating a HTTP/Rest application with
cowboy and you learn things when you need to use them. Hopefully we will
have the first post finished in the next days thanks to Inaka that is
giving me some hours for doing it.

Apart from the posts/mini book I am working on a web like
http://superherojs.com/ but for Erlang. I think this could be great for
newcomers. I am adding the links to this Readme:
https://github.com/pyotrgalois/spawnedshelter/blob/master/README.md. In the
following weeks I will do the frontend work. I already have a friend who is
drawing a few things for the web :).

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