[erlang-questions] yet more ranting about Erlang docs

Garrett Smith g@REDACTED
Thu Feb 18 00:50:24 CET 2010

On Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 4:25 PM, Joe Armstrong <erlang@REDACTED> wrote:
> Sounds like you're a smart programmer, having found the odd
> inconsequential wart in our otherwise incomparably magnificent documentation.

I actually agree -- I find the core docs at erlang.org to be excellent.

Consider, by comparison, .NET documentation from Microsoft. Say what
you will about Microsoft (to yourself please, I'm sure we've all heard
it before ;) but they are one of only a handful of companies with the
resources to build a platform with very deep documentation and
outstanding tools.

And, IMO, the .NET docs are practically unusable. Weird that you can
execute at a high level and still not be that helpful.

And there's the Java docs from Sun. Very good, IMO, but not really
that useful, at least by themselves.

I'm with Joe -- the solution is more books. Erlang is way to deep a
technology/ecosystem to be properly covered in, what, a handful of
books to date?

Personally, I'm looking forward to the final copy of OTP in Action
from Manning. The authors have delved into the "Tao of OTP
applications" and, based on the early copy I have, do a good job of
filling in pieces that are missing in the online docs. They also get
into tooling, which is part of the equation.

I also think this is a function of the relative commercial success, or
lack thereof, of Erlang applications. Java, C#, PHP, Ruby, etc. have
lots of good books because companies are paying developers to use
those languages. Hopefully Erlang will move in that direction, but
until it does, I think it's reasonable that Erlang developers suck it
up and do their best with what's available.


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