[erlang-questions] node.js compared to erlang

Ulf Wiger ulf.wiger@REDACTED
Fri Oct 8 16:35:51 CEST 2010

On 8 Oct 2010, at 16:10, David Welton wrote:
> I see Erlang getting eclipsed by node.js in the web space, and
> remaining something of a niche system for people who really do need
> all the fault-tolerant, 24/7, etc... stuff.  Erlang's advantages there
> are obvious.  However, mostly, the web world gets by without those
> things - they may be nice, but most people get by ok without them.
> It's a pity to see Erlang remain in that narrow niche, though, because
> Erlang would benefit from the "network effects" of increased
> popularity that its use in building web applications would bring, and,
> in the same vein, would likely make Erlang a more valuable skill for
> those of us who know it.

In a sense, this is a problem plaguing all technologies that require a bit
of extra effort up front in order to save time and money down the road.
Erlang comes off as being strange by definition, since it is not OO, Java-
like, or basically similar to anything mainstream.

Also, the advantages of Erlang are perhaps not so readily apparent, as 
principles for massive concurrency and the issues of exception flows and
exception handling in concurrent systems are not part of the regular 
curriculum. Add to that the "pioneering nature" of much in the Web space,
and you will have a large group of people who go for the low-hanging fruit,
and defer any problems of scale, robustness and complexity until later.

It will be a combination of knowingly deferring some problems, and of not
even realising what lies ahead. I don't necessarily view this as a bad thing.
Much innovation might have been stifled by too much knowledge of the 
difficulties lurking around the corner.

Ulf W

Ulf Wiger, CTO, Erlang Solutions, Ltd.

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