[erlang-questions] Why should you ever use atoms?

Pierre Fenoll <>
Sat Oct 10 17:59:54 CEST 2015


Atom comparison is O(1) (and just one word). 
String comparison is O(n)

> On 10 Oct 2015, at 08:46, Thomas Gebert <> wrote:
> 
> I know this is probably kind of a newbie question, but I figured this would be the place to ask it: if atoms aren't garbage collected, why should I use them? For example, it's a common pattern to have something like:
> 
>    myFunction({user, "tombert","eats pizza"}) -> %% do something
> 
> When I could easily do something like:
> 
>    myFunction({"user", "tombert", "eats pizza"}) -> %% do something
> 
> ----
> 
> I could be way off here, but wouldn't the string be garbage collected?  Is there a benefit to atoms that I'm missing?
> 
> -Tombert.
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