A Pythonista's Impressions of Erlang

Thomas Lindgren thomasl_erlang@REDACTED
Thu Jan 13 12:12:01 CET 2005

--- bry@REDACTED wrote:

> ... there was a general
> quiet were the difficulties of finding resources,
> documentation etc. were
> discussed. Any takes on that subject?

Personally, I've never had any difficulty in seeing
the existing docs (no broken links to be found either)
nor have I heard a lot of complaining about it. So the
broken links sounded like a local problem to that

Resources: the existing docs are fairly good, and the
new reference manual seems a fine thing for getting
started with programming. If anything, my problem has
been that it's difficult to find your way around all
the masses of available docs.

Examples and user contributions can be found directly
from the main page. Good.

Jungerl and some other SourceForge projects might be
invisible from the turrets of the mighty fortress of
Ericsson, so that's a possible drawback.

Not getting the man/html stuff when you download the
source tarball might or might not be a problem.
Perhaps the download page could be reorged?

OK, now let's compare www.erlang.org to the sites of
some similar languages. First www.python.org. That
site has:

immediately seen sidebars:
- "What is Python" (missing on erlang.org, or found in
- "Python Versions"
- "Documentation"
- "Community"
a main announcements page,
a search bar,
and a (possibly) nicer layout with a larger, more
readable font (on my Linux Firefox browser).

Actual downloads seem a bit less convenient on
python.org -- you get to the tarballs more quickly on

The Python site seems to branch into different Python
versions fairly quickly, while erlang.org does not.
Not sure whether this is an advantage?

Next, looking at Ruby (www.ruby-lang.org), we can see
almost the same organization as python on the main
page. On downloads, they mark "the stable release".
Maybe the erlang download page should show "the stable
release" too, apart from having it on the top of the
page :-) (Actually, I think it would be a good idea to
mark the "standard Erlang/OTP download" more clearly.)

Next: Perl.org starts with "About Perl", "Online
documentation", "Get Perl" and a default download in
the top left corner. Actually downloading it involved
some link chasing, so here Erlang wins again. Nothing
special about the site, as far as I can tell. I think
CPAN is the cool thing about Perl's community

There are newsgroups, comp.lang.{python,ruby,perl} but
no comp.lang.erlang.

The example languages all seem to have anonymous cvs
and so on, which Erlang does not. But that's how we do
it, at this point.

There is, possibly, more involvement and contributions
to the language, distribution, libraries,
documentation and website from "outsiders" for
python/ruby/perl than Erlang. That's not so strange,
given Erlang's roots and constraints, but perhaps that
too could be improved as a "resource"? (It's one of
the benefits of open source, after all.)

Well, those are my 2 pence.


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