[erlang-questions] The Beauty of Erlang Syntax

Richard Andrews bbmaj7@REDACTED
Wed Feb 25 06:39:33 CET 2009

I think it is a derivative of 1. Not that people are too stupid to understand functional languages; rather that they don't "get" them straight away. Most programmers first learn an imperative language (even in CS at university) and functional languages look wrong after that.
Java, C, C++, python, etc. all have familiar syntax elements that work pretty much the same way in all of them. People feel comfortable moving from one to the other. Functional languages have different syntax elements and as such beginners are hit with a large barrier to understanding. It looks too hard so they give up. In my experience, once someone learns one functional language they tend to learn several because there is no longer such a leap required.

My first functional language was elisp. If it had been erlang I think I would have started using functional languages seriously a lot earlier in my career.

As for those who *make* imperative languages. They probably also use (or even write) functional languages. Use the right tool for the job. C is still the best tool for a lot of work I do. People write languages to create a tool to solve a problem. You get problems when you choose a tool because it's the only one you understand.

I don't buy 2, 3 or 4 - but I would add 
    6. FUD. It looks scary.


From: Michael Richter <ttmrichter@REDACTED>
To: erlang-questions@REDACTED
Sent: Wednesday, 25 February, 2009 2:27:40 PM
Subject: Re: [erlang-questions] The Beauty of Erlang Syntax

I would like to ask a multi-part, but rhetorical, question of the list:

Why do you think people stay away from functional programming languages in droves?

	1. Is it because they're too stupid to understand them?
	2. Is it because of an evil cabal of IT Illuminati who are trying to squelch the true freedom of the programming masses?

	3. Is it because the functional languages available do not seem to meet their needs, whatever those may be?
	4. Is it because the fans of functional languages often come across as religious fanatics preaching the One True Way <tm> of programming?
	5. Is it some combination of the above?

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