We recently blogged on our choice of Erlang as the development language for Replify Accelerator. Last week one of our developers, steeped in Erlang for many years, attended the Erlang User Conference. Here are his thoughts…
The Erlang User conference has been the premier gathering of Erlang experience since its first instalment in 1994. In those days it was hosted in an Ericsson lecture hall (capacity 150, but rarely filled) and attended exclusively by Ericsson folk as this new language was practically unheard of outside the company.
Since going open-source in 1998 the community has been growing, admittedly very slowly in the beginning but has been enjoying exponential growth for the last 5 years or so. Now competing with other Erlang conferences in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Tokyo the EUC has moved to a converted cinema in Stockholm and is still the premier event, this year selling out at 310 attendees.
With talks on the latest test tools, on success stories, new applications and a word from the OTP developers on upcoming features this is always the perfect opportunity to mingle with the creators and developers of the language.
Originally developed to support massive concurrency in telecom systems with the aim of having nine nine (99.9999999%) uptime the creators decided on a share-nothing structure which allows individual processes to crash in a safe way. Hot-code loading allows you to fix the bug that caused the crash without stopping the system and if designed with scalability in mind the application can be scaled up to work over several different servers.
All these attributes have been important for telecom systems since their creation, but with the constant progress of processor development hitting new limits and going the multi-core route Erlang was ready-made to exploit this. It arguably had the perfect mechanism in a well tested platform and as result its use outside of the telecoms world has been growing steadily.
Erlang boasts faster development times, quicker debugging and fewer lines of code than equivalent languages for similar tasks, all leading to more maintainable and reliable systems.
And with the OTP delivering optimisations and improvements with the help of a very active user community the future for Erlang is bright.