[erlang-questions] Any Erlang Devs Contemplating Elixir?

Loïc Hoguin essen@REDACTED
Sat Feb 27 12:28:52 CET 2016

On 02/26/2016 09:21 PM, José Valim wrote:
>     But I may not be representative. Last time I counted I've
>     used around 40 languages in anger over the years, yet
>     I find Ruby bewildering.
> I am not sure Ruby is relevant here. Elixir is not Ruby (and it could
> never be in the Erlang VM). Elixir also isn't about Ruby syntax (the
> same way Erlang isn't about Prolog syntax)[4].

Rationally, Elixir is not Ruby, and Erlang isn't Prolog. Irrationally, 
it is. Elixir has the same look and feel as Ruby, and Erlang has the 
same look and feel as Prolog.

When Ruby developers look at Elixir they feel right at home. If you call 
yourself a Ruby developer, then you identify with certain values from 
Ruby, many of which can be found in Elixir. It's familiar. Again, we are 
on the irrational level here.

Same goes for Erlang and Prolog. In fact a few days ago a few long-time 
Prolog developers pointed out the exact same thing when they were 
talking about Erlang. There is this familiarity that smoothes them in, 
even though the languages are fundamentally different.

The thing is, if you have to convince large groups of people, you need 
to appeal to their irrational mind. As Scott Adams brilliantly pointed 
out, identity beats analogy beats reason. If you want to convince people 
to come to Elixir, you need to appeal to their identity, which is why 
targeting Ruby on Rails developers is your best bet. If you don't then 
you're just wasting valuable time and resources.

I've pointed out a few years ago that Elixir was for Ruby developers. I 
didn't know why at the time. If you look at the most recent survey 
(http://blog.elixirsips.com/2015/12/21/elixir-users-survey-2015/), you 
can see that Ruby developers dominate. Other languages are little more 
than a statistical anomaly. Clearly you bring in a lot more Ruby 
developers than any other combined, and the reason for that is identity.

Stop fighting it. Use it to bring more people in.

Loïc Hoguin
Author of The Erlanger Playbook,
A book about software development using Erlang

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