[erlang-questions] erlang sucks

Rick Pettit rpettit@REDACTED
Thu Mar 13 21:12:07 CET 2008

On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 04:57:43PM +0000, Alp?r J?ttner wrote:
> For the heaven's sake, I have never said it is a disadvantage of Erlang
> that is functional !!!! I only said that it might cause some
> difficulties for a beginner (a student), because most of them are
> already familiar with a procedural language, and they want to write
> program in Erlang in the same way as they did in C/C++/Java/Python.
> Is my English so bad?

Not at all, and I apologize if I offended you.

The bottom line, though, is erlang is not a procedural language. Therefore,
people that can't switch to a functional/concurrent programming paradigm are
naturally going to have a hard time, and maybe even dislike the language.

Tossing something that looks like a for or while loop at them to help them
learn the language doesn't make sense--it doesn't help them switch to the
new paradigm. Where iteration used to be a "good fit", now recursion is
employed, etc.

Likewise, variables are single assignment. Dict and other modules can be
used to try and cheat and get multiple assignment (or worse, global variables),
but that's terrible style and so it also won't help them out in the long run
(probably won't help in the short run, either).

I used to be one of these poor souls, but I switched over to erlang so long
ago and haven't look back since--I'm not sure I recall exactly how I got
here :-)

I do think there's hope for newcomers, though, considering I did get here and
without a lot of resources now available to newcomers:

  1) Joe's new book

  2) better docs

  3) sites like erlware, trap exit, etc which give great examples, include
     tutorials geared towards the beginner, etc

  4) this mailing list (which was around way back when I was learning, but
     with so many more subscribers today than 5+ years ago it's that much
     quicker/easier to get answers--and there's years of archives to dig
     through as well)


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