[erlang-questions] Erlang documentation -- a modest proposal

Vlad Dumitrescu <>
Wed Sep 28 12:22:23 CEST 2016

On Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:58 AM, Loïc Hoguin <> wrote:

> As far as my workflow is concerned, the Erlang shell is nearly never used.
> So starting the shell to then look for the function I want is not as
> efficient as just opening a man page. Not to mention the lack of search and
> navigation, plus the fact I'd need to open a separate shell just to keep
> the documentation on-screen while using the shell further.

I don't use the shell either, but I suppose that from a workflow POV,
having a separate terminal tab with an erlang/elixir shell where one can
enter "h something" is the same as having a terminal tab with bash where
one enters "man something"?

> I've said it before, I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to have
> interactive help in the shell, but it shouldn't replace other forms.
> Different formats are helpful to different people, and I think we should
> strive to provide as many options as possible to get to the documentation;
> not remove all of them just because of bad past decisions.


Having an API for retrieving the documentation is something we should steal
from Elixir, that opens even more options. The main hurdle would be that
Erlang doc can be found both as edoc and as OTP xml...

BTW, I don't have an Elixir installation available, but can it show even
the docs for Erlang modules?

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