[erlang-questions] Re: book ideas (was re making sense)

Garrett Smith g@REDACTED
Sat Feb 20 18:19:14 CET 2010

On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 10:49 PM, Michael Turner <leap@REDACTED> wrote:
> On 2/19/2010, "Geoff Biggs" <geoffrey.biggs@REDACTED> wrote:
>>8) A cookbook (I don't think any of the other options adequately covers
>>this). The recipes books that O'Reilly produces for several languages
>>are so immensely useful.
> I second that.  There's a very useful level of conceptual granularity
> that's "coarser" than that of "idiom", but still neither concretely
> specific to an application domain nor quite as abstract as "software
> pattern".  Cookbooks cover that ground.  This book might be an easy
> one, since it's already mostly written, just scattered around in other
> work.

I'd love to see a software architecture "patterns" book that uses OTP
- as much as possible anyway - as the illustration/implementation
layer. This would not be a "functional patterns" (in contract to OO),
but rather these elements:

- Concurrency with message passing
- Process definition/scoping (e.g. server behaviors)
- Supervision and fault tolerance
- System composition and management in OTP (i.e. applications and releases)

This is the stuff one needs to thoroughly understand to build a
non-trivial system in Erlang. I've found it challenging to piece this
information together with the available online resources, lists,
books, etc.

I'm not a huge UML guy, but UML does provide a basic vocabulary for
thinking about and communicating various aspects of a software system.
I probably ever only use < 5% of the stuff, but even with that, it's
very helpful to used a shared modeling language. A patterns book like
this would codify a simple notation for modeling/describing Erlang/OTP
systems, which would be a big benefit, IMO.

The payoff for such a book is that it'd highlight how and why
Erlang/OTP is well suited for highly concurrent, fault tolerant
systems. The case studies show that anecdotally, but a good patterns
book would provide the all important sign posts to help developers
realize the goodness.


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