[erlang-questions] node.js vs erlang

Garrett Smith g@REDACTED
Thu Jun 19 15:31:38 CEST 2014

It may be worth mentioning that in the survey results, Node.js does not
show up as a strong alternative. The usual suspects wrt Erlang alternatives
are Go, the JVM languages (largely Clojure and Scala), Haskell, and to a
lesser extent Elixir.

One of the contributors to this thread described Node.js as "the biggest
crap I ever taste" which, from my own non scientific experience, is not an
isolated opinion. I don't know if it's worth investing a lot of energy in
reverse engineering the popularity of this platform.

Btw here's the tag cloud for the Erlang language/framework alternatives:


golang.org was cited many times as an outstanding resource for learning Go.
On 06/18/2014 10:22 PM, Kenneth Lundin wrote:

> That is what I meant, you are using a more complex setup with Erlang in
> order to get more features. So the comparision with other languages
> "simple setup" is not fair.

The setup is more complex but the way we get there isn't. Have you read the
getting started chapter[1]? The release part is smaller than it would take
to explain "erl -run" or "erl -s": we don't have to write extra code for
it, we don't have to manually setup paths, we don't have to deal with
reltool, and so on. It's literally "create relx.config, put this in it, run
make again". Bam you got a release. That part can't get any simpler.

Erlang *is* more complex to use than many other languages (it is still
simpler than C, C++ and the like though). Either you do things manually by
downloading dependencies manually and such, or you use a build system like
erlang.mk (or rebar) to automate things which requires you to create an OTP

Because erlang.mk automates the use of relx to build releases it is
actually simpler to make a release than manually setup paths and whatnot.
We just have to create the one file! We don't deal with reltool here,
creating the release is *really* easier than not.

There's no simpler alternative to all that in the Erlang ecosystem. We will
be able to make it a little simpler by having templates instead of making
the user copy things, but the getting started chapter will not go down in
length dramatically because of this.

We could remove all explanations to make it perhaps half the size it
currently is, but then we removed all explanations. It's a chapter about
getting started, it's supposed to provide initial pointers to users, not
just get them to run an example and then ask themselves "now what?". We
have actual examples for people that want that already.

I am not even sure what triggers all these good comments about the nodejs
documentation. Sure it has a 6 lines and 1 command example on its front
page. There's no denying that. Then what? A link to API docs. I have *no*
idea how people manage to learn how to use it. Surely by using other
resources than these, because while I'm confident I could run the front
page example quickly, I am also confident that's about all I could do with
it for a rather long time until I manage to figure out how to do anything
meaningful, if I were to only use the official docs.

[1] http://ninenines.eu/docs/en/cowboy/HEAD/guide/getting_started/

Loïc Hoguin
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