[erlang-questions] Erlang for youngsters

Peer Stritzinger peerst@REDACTED
Fri Jun 20 13:51:28 CEST 2014

Oh I fully admit I just wrote conjectures myself.  Thats what I intended to.

Also I don't say that the Elixir community should try out teaching 
Elixir to children.

I just don't see any value for the Erlang community in this and I 
personally have the opinion that Erlang is easier to learn as first 
language than Elixir.   The thread started triggered by Garetts talk 
about what needs to be improved about Erlang and its community.

To get more inflow into the Erlang community one way was suggested be 
to teach kids Erlang or something more kid friendly based on Erlang.

Then all kinds of opinion is stated that we should teach kids Elixir 
because somehow people think its clear to be easier learnt by children 
than Erlang which kind of irks me because I totally don't get why that 
shoud be true.  But somehow its thought "obvious".

So moving back to the initial questions Garett looked at in his talk.

If teaching Elixir to kids is the solution to rescue the Erlang 
community, can anyone please explain to me how that is going to work 
out for Erlang?  For me its say, ok Erlang is screwed anyway and we 
should just give up and hand over anything to Elixir.  Which probably 
wouldn't do so well if Erlang dies off and the VM is no longer actively 

Fortunately this is not going to happen soon since Ericson and a bunch 
of others are busy making money from using Erlang.

But what does this make of Garetts findings?

Look at them, shrug and teach kids Elixir?

Maybe one of the problems of the Erlang community is that we have low 
self esteem?  If all solutions we can think of is moving away from 

On 2014-06-20 10:28:47 +0000, José Valim said:

> This thread would be much more interesting without all the unproven 
> conjectures that Elixir is obviously the better choice to teach to 
> children.
> Peer, why not hold your e-mails to the same criteria you expect from 
> the whole thread? Btw, a conjecture is by definition unproven.
> I disagree.  Elixir is a much worse choice to teach to children, 
> because its not a simple language anmore.
> Conjecture.

> No not a conjecure even: opinion I would rather say, clearly indicated 
> by the intro "I disagree"

> Experience comes with time and trying. If nobody tries, we will never know.

By all means do!

> Also if you are saying Elixir is "just Ruby" then why not count all the 
> initiatives that actually teach Ruby to children in its favor?

Didn' say "Elixir is just Ruby" and won't ever because it clearly isn't.  

I said I see it easier to learn for someone comming from a Ruby background.

> * http://www.kidsruby.com
> I have been to Ruby conferences where we had rooms full of children 
> being taught Ruby. Or should they all be considered the devil's work 
> and the teachers burned at the stake?

Of course not and I don't see what this has to do with the discussion.

Except ask ourself: where are those rooms full of children at the 
Erlang conferences?

> Elixir is mainly appealing to either people comming from Ruby or just 
> for pop culture value (as is Ruby itself).
> Conjecture(s). 

No, opinion.

> What advantage does metaprogramming have for teaching kids?
> Yes, I bet the second chapter of a future "Elixir for Kids" book is 
> about meta-programming.

Well besides the different syntax, metaprogramming is whats sold as one 
Elixirs advantages isn't it?

So if we ignore metaprogramming because it woun't be taught in this 
"Elixir for Kids" book all that remains as difference is the syntax.

So the question is which syntax is easier to teach to someone with no 
background in other programming language syntax and why do people think 
Elixirs is easier for kids than Erlang?

> ========
> Note I am not saying at any point that Elixir is better or worse. I 
> would be glad to see people trying and kids playing with it.
> I won't mind whatever language my kid chooses when learning to program, 
> I'll just be happy he's doing it. I got really interested in 
> programming with ActionScript because at the time I was playing with 
> creating animations in Macromedia Flash and then I found out I could 
> really do a lot of interesting stuff by using a programming language 
> instead of relying on the GUI. I didn't care if the language was 
> functional, OO, the syntax it used for defining functions, or whatever.
> The worst we could do to future programmers is to actually ingrain the 
> idea there is one true solution in software.

There we definitely agree.

Its hypothetical anyway because who in the Erlang community would 
actually build this Erlang for Kids thing?  Who wants to put in the 
resources?  Where is our Lifelong Kindergarden with Erlang MIT Media 
lab like thing?
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