[erlang-questions] erlang sucks

Thu Mar 13 09:53:52 CET 2008

On Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 01:47:27PM +0100, Mats Cronqvist wrote:

>  katz starts out like this; "...it's time to whine about my favorite  
> language I use quite extensively." seems pretty clear that the problem  
> is not that he is a troll, but rather that the erlang community (or at  
> least certain members of it) is immature. CouchDB is a major erlang  
> application, and katz should not have to take any crap from people that  
> has never written a significant piece of erlang (I'm not talking about  
> you, ulf!)
>  more so because most of his complaints are essentially valid.
> *  the syntax does suck. for beginners, because it looks weird (i.e. not 
> like ALGOL), thus being a major obstacle to adoption. for pros, because 
> the silly separators, and the needless verbosity (lambdas, using  
> 'receive' instead of '?', etc)
> * 'if' is  completely worthless, and should ideally be obsoleted.
> * strings as lists of integers is often annoying.
> * the X1=x1(X),X2=x2(X1),,, pattern is tedious and error prone.
> * records are  "limited and verbose" (for a reason, but still)
> * some of the libs/docs are of poor quality.

I mostly agree with all those complaints about Erlang. Syntax is not
usually a problem for programmers that know and use more than one
language at a time, but it is still an obstacle for newcomers.

My (little) experience about teaching Erlang at university gave me the
impression that students are attracted by many of the *cool* features
of the language (concurrency, message passing, reliability, gen_*) but
are mostly disappointed by syntax and libraries.

Maybe it is due to the fact that most of them know C/C++/Java/Python.
Maybe Erlang syntax is not so intuitive and easy as one could expect
from a modern and powerful languages.  
Maybe because the standard library is not so rich and not so
consistent as expected from a mature language.

I think that the blogpost written by kats summerizes the most relevant
issues that should be solved in order to make Erlang a main-stream
language. Given that this community and people at Ericsson really want
this to happen......:-)



[ Enzo Nicosia aka KatolaZ --- GLUG Catania -- Freaknet Medialab ]
[ me [at] katolaz.homeunix.net -- http://katolaz.homeunix.net -- ]
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