[erlang-questions] Practical Erlang Programming

Benjamin Tolputt bjt@REDACTED
Fri Feb 22 00:41:17 CET 2008

On 22-Feb-2008, Brian Cully wrote:
> 	Unfortunately, what I would really like is something akin to an OTP  
> Illustrated. OTP is by far the hardest thing I have to wrap my head  
> around. Proper use of supervisor tree, best practices on function  
> placement, common idioms, etc.,.

This is something I agree is an issue for people (such as Biran & 
myself) getting into Erlang. I understand the appeal of a book 
describing the basics of a language. For the author, it has a much 
broader market (i.e. all those who don't know the language), and for the 
beginner it doesn't make assumptions on their knowledge of the language.

The problem with these books is that they only take you so far. Most 
decent developers I have worked with can pick up a language in a 
style/genre they are familiar with within a few days (i.e. a C++ 
programmer can pick up the syntax/semantics of Java pretty damn quick, a 
Lisp programmer tends to pick up Erlang syntax/semantics in around the 
same time). The issue isn't the language, but the best use of the 
language library building blocks (or even knowing of their existence).

Let's take Java as an example. Sure, there are a literal tonne of books 
on the syntax/semantics of Java. However, there is around the same 
amount of books describing various libraries/frameworks one can use with 
Java. Erlang currently already has a good book on the syntax/semantics - 
Joe's Programming Erlang. I don't need another one of those on my shelf. 
What I need is a book that shows me how to get the most out of the 
Erlang library building blocks - namely OTP.


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