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Cover image for Love Erlang if you love Elixir

Love Erlang if you love Elixir

Adolfo Neto
I am an Associate Professor teaching Functional Programming and Agile Methods. I write Elixir code whenever I can.
・2 min read

Today I was reading messages on the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation (are you already a member? It's free!) Slack and a member wrote something like:

Erlang is at a much greater risk of not receiving new developers. And when the Erlang community dies, Elixir will die soon after.

The entry about Erlang in Wikipedia is a quite good introduction to why it is worth it to study this programming language created in 1986. According to Wikipedia, its runtime system, the BEAM, "is designed for systems with these traits:

  • Distributed
  • Fault-tolerant
  • Soft real-time
  • Highly available, non-stop applications
  • Hot swapping, where code can be changed without stopping a system."

On the language page you will find how to install Erlang. But if you already have Elixir installed, then you already have Erlang installed.

To open an Erlang shell, just type, in your operating system terminal:
- erl

You should see something like this:

Alt Text

One important thing is that, unlike Elixir, you have to type a DOT (.) at the end of each command.

In addition, variable names must start with a capital letter. And you cannot assign a new value to a variable.

For example, suppose I want to create an Age variable and assign it an integer value 18.

I must, in erl, type:

Age = 18.

To see the value of the Age variable I type:

Age.

If I try to assign a new value to the Age variable, typing:

Age = 19.

Alt Text

the following error happens: "** exception error: no match of right hand side value 19"

Join the Erlang Slack channel or other community communication channels for more immediate feedback.

Did you find it interesting? Do you want me to continue writing about Erlang? Like, share or comment below.

Bonus: listen to this episode of the Mostly Erlang podcast with the creator of Elixir and two of the creators of Erlang.

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