[erlang-questions] Visual Erlang notation v0.1.0 - feedback request

Torben Hoffmann torben.hoffmann@REDACTED
Mon May 5 21:00:13 CEST 2014

Lloyd R. Prentice writes:

> It would be great to see the popular web servers and frameworks visually documented.
Indeed - I will gladly assist anyone that ventures into these waters.

> Appreciate your thoughtful work.
Thanks - with the inputs I'm getting I'm pretty sure that we can get something decent
out of this!


> Sent from my iPad
>> On May 5, 2014, at 4:32 AM, Torben Hoffmann <torben.hoffmann@REDACTED> wrote:
>> Garrett Smith writes:
>>> Hi Torben,
>>> On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 2:21 AM, Torben Hoffmann
>>> <torben.hoffmann@REDACTED> wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> As I have mentioned before I have been working on a visual notation for Erlang and
>>>> although it is not complete yet I have received requests to release it anyway, so
>>>> here goes...
>>>> https://github.com/esl/visual_erlang
>>>> One extra thing missing from the to-do list is state data for processes.
>>>> I would like some feedback on how you feel the abstraction level is.
>>>> The purpose of Visual Erlang is not to be able to specify every little detail of what
>>>> happens in an Erlang program, but to give a way to describe the architecture.
>>> Love this!
>> Thanks!
>>> My hopefully constructive input though... I think you ought to be
>>> easier on folks who don't use fancy graphics editors :)
>> That's the first time I have heard LaTeX being called a fancy graphics editor ;-)
>>> I (and the folks I work with) tend to use Google presentations to put
>>> together visual diagrams. It's quite a handy program. Unfortunately
>>> you can't do a few things that you require:
>>> - Squiggly lines
>>> - Double lines
>>> But you can do:
>>> - Lots of different line endings (circles, squares, triangles)
>>> - Dashed lines
>>> - Dash-dotted lines
>>> - Thick and thin lines
>>> Unless you have a religious point of view when it comes to squiggles
>>> (I hear this is a thing) I'd recommend tweaking the symbols to widen
>>> the tent for drawing tools :)
>> I'm not religious about squiggles, but I had a reason for using squiggles for message
>> passing:
>> I want to encourage using module APIs to send messages around. It is rare that you
>> need to send messages directly, so the symbol for that should stand out and the easy
>> straight line be used for calling an API function.
>> But I am very open to finding ways to make this distinction come out, so perhaps one
>> could use dashed lines for message passing?
>> Another criteria is that it should be easy to write the Visual Erlang diagrams on a
>> whiteboard. I find squiggles easier than dashed lines, but that could be my
>> preference - dashed lines are not impossible.
>> Thick and thin lines are really hard on a whiteboard.
>> I will ponder a bit over this in conjunction with some of the other feedback, so
>> please follow this thread!
>>> I also recommend putting together some PNGs and including them as
>>> images in the README so people can see what's going on at a glance
>>> from the github page without downloading the PDF. But this a nice to
>>> have.
>> I didn't know that one could include PNGs in the README on github - do you have an
>> example of how this is done?
>> Very cool idea!
>>> Can't wait for the Patterns In Erlang book! (But who's in the GoF?)
>> So far it is only a dynamic duo: Jesper and me.
>> Gang of anything sounds so last century - need to find something cooler. Dynamic duo
>> also has an oldish feel to it, mind you ;-)
>> We will start with getting Erlang patterns documented - if it turns into something
>> that people want in book form it might happen.
>> Thanks for the feedback!
>> Torben
>>> Garrett
>> -- 
>> Torben Hoffmann
>> CTO
>> Erlang Solutions Ltd.
>> Tel: +45 25 14 05 38
>> http://www.erlang-solutions.com
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Torben Hoffmann
Erlang Solutions Ltd.
Tel: +45 25 14 05 38

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