[erlang-questions] Erlang for youngsters

José Valim jose.valim@REDACTED
Fri Jun 20 16:25:41 CEST 2014

> I just don't see any value for the Erlang community in this [teaching
> Elixir to kids]
So basically you are saying that you don't see any value in:

* teaching developers/kids a language that runs on the same VM as Erlang

* teaching developers/kids a language that uses the same concurrency
mechanisms, processes and distribution abstraction as Erlang

* teaching a language that is functional and promotes immutability as Erlang

For me teaching any language that promotes any of the three example bullets
above brings value to Erlang.

> 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.
Teaching Erlang to kids is not going to increase the inflow into the Erlang
community unless it is a HUGE effort that requires an incredible amount of
time in the long-term. How many children would have to be taught so in 5
years time they become an active part of the community? How many
developer-hours would that whole effort require?

Teaching programming to kids is a goal in itself. In his talk Garrett
raised many other points that could be more effective in increasing the
inflow into the Erlang community.

> Well besides the different syntax, metaprogramming is whats sold as one
> Elixirs advantages isn't it?
Meta-programming is an advanced feature of the language. We don't talk
about it in the Getting Started guide. And even in the Programming Elixir
book, it is only discussed in the last sections.

> 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.
We also have an excellent focus on tooling and on documentation both which
are very helpful when learning a language. But, of course, those points are
always dismissed even though it is clearly stated in the project home page.

Instead of claiming Ruby for being the result of a pop culture, we should
actually ask ourselves what were their efforts and how did they get to the
point where they can have a room full of kids at events learning how to

We should ask how can both Elixir and Erlang community *be together* in
tackling this (and LFE and ...). More people, more time, more energy! If
Elixir is good at attracting Rubyists, maybe we can get the attention of
some that were involved in those teaching projects to give us some pointers?

Do you want to help the community grow? Do what Katie said: "embrace
diversity", don't actively fight against it.
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