[erlang-questions] Request feedback on example project

Nathaniel Waisbrot nathaniel@REDACTED
Thu Feb 4 13:29:06 CET 2016

> I don't even like the idea of using maps for this, but the "old
> fashioned" tuple type seems to be discouraged in the R18 docs. Meh.
> So much for trying to be hip to the new thing. I like my old tuples.
> I don't think there is anything in here that doesn't work even with
> rather old ERTS releases, so I'm switching this (back) to tuples.
> With regard to tuples VS maps for trivial things like this... I almost
> feel like its a case of getting a newfangled toy and simply feeling
> compelled to use it everywhere.

As someone with less than 10,000 hours of OTP code under my belt, I found
this change (tuples to maps) to be so useful that I immediately upgraded
all my code to require version 18.
With the tuples, I had to check the documentation every single time I made
a supervisor to confirm whether it was `intensity` or `period` first. I
also would get copy/paste errors because I'd copy the child spec for a
worker that was set to `brutal_kill` and use that as template for a
supervisor without changing it to `infinity`.
The new maps are self-documenting and they provide sane defaults so that if
I want a vanilla supervisor I can just say `#{id => cool_super, start =>
{M, F, A}, type => supervisor}`.  Not only do I avoid dumb bugs, but it's
also clear that this is a vanilla supervisor and not something more

It seems like a small change, but I thought the old tuples were _awful_ and
I was very happy to see them marked as deprecated.

> Oh, a layout issue.  I don't like big black blobs (except when I
> > write them).  So
> > %% wdrwertwertwert
> > %% wertwertwertwrt
> > %% wretertwertwertew
> > -spec frgsdfgdfghsdfg
> > asdfasdf(sdfgsdfg) ->
> >     ....
> >
> > is just a bit too much for me to be comfortable with.  I'd find
> > it easier to read with blank line after the %% comment block
> > and a blank line after the -spec.
> >
> > I find that with my OWN code it's so obvious that packing it
> > tightly doesn't impair readability, but with someone else's
> > code well-placed blank lines never go amiss.  I can only suppose
> > that I'm in error about my own code and that it too could do with
> > more blank lines.
> *MY* code is always perfectly readable as big, immaculate, unbroken
> blocks. Until a few months later. Ugh.
> I'm not sure where I stand on the line break issue, really, but since
> you mentioned it I'm trying out a line between doc and spec, a line
> between spec and definition, and two lines between functions (but no
> lines between function clauses -- I already know that confuses me,
> especially with un-specced/un-docced functions).

I don't feel very strongly on this one (I do about the supervisor spec),
but I find the tight-packed blocks _more_ readable in other people's code.
I run my eyes down the left-hand side and see


And that's pretty clearly (1) some comments, (2) a compiler directive, (3)
a function. They all go together: I expect the comment to be function
documentation and the dash to be a function spec.

If I see




Then the comments might be module-level comments and the directive might be
an export or an if or a define or a type declaration and I have to read
more characters to figure out if those three lines are related.
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