Elixir

A general-purpose programming language known for its reliability and scalability

Elixir is a prominent general-purpose programming language. Businesses use Elixir for developing web-based applications and APIs. Elixir is a dynamically typed language and follows duck typing methodology (the object’s properties define what it can do, rather than the class it inherits).

It supports many data types, including Boolean, floats, integers, tuples, strings, and lists, and it’s one of the most reliable programming languages out there. It made its debut in 2011 and is licensed under Apache License 2.0. Jose Valim, Elixir’s creator, designed it on top of BEAM, also known as Erlang Virtual Machine (Erlang VM).

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Elixir Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

Should you learn Elixir?

Elixir is a very functional and robust programming language. It has many attributes in common with both Erlang and Ruby. It combines Ruby’s effectiveness and fault tolerance with Erlang’s runtime characteristics to create low latency web and software programs and systems.

Hundreds of companies around the world use Elixir for their backend requirements. Even though it first appeared in 2011 and is considered a new language, many popular companies such as Moz, Pinterest, IBM, Pepsico, Whatsapp, and Bet365 use it. Anyone interested in working for these companies or working with a similar tech stack should definitely invest time in learning this language. 

Applications of Elixir in the Tech industry

Some of the most notable areas where businesses use Elixir include the following.

Chat applications

Elixir’s abilities such as workload management, traffic distribution, and concurrency make it a popular choice for chat app development. In addition, Elixir can clean/trim the company’s enterprise code and speed up performance for push notification and routing. Two major companies that use Elixir in telecommunications are Whatsapp and WeChat. 

IoT services

Nerves is an infrastructure development platform based on Elixir that you can use for designing IoT-related services. Elixir also comes with higher-order functions (availability, reliability, scalability) and pattern matching that are highly useful for embedded, web server-based development.

Blockchain

Many businesses use Elixir to develop decentralized blockchain apps due to its attributes, such as concurrency and scalability. Elixir also prevents latency and provides maximum throughput. Features like these ensure stability and synchronization for any ledger, which is highly required in blockchain development. 

Gaming

Many developers use Elixir for their game’s backend. You can build your logic in BEAM and use C for port interaction/communication. This way, you can build a high-performance game with Elixir features. 

Advantages of Using Elixir For Your Development

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    Fault-tolerance
    Elixir is built on Erlang, a language that has unmatched reliability and fault tolerance. Through Elixir, you can create apps and systems that can automatically handle runtime errors with utmost precision and recover without human intervention.

    Erlang VM isolates the dysfunctional modules automatically, which prevents the entire system from going down during failure. You can also set up redundancies. For example, you can design the system so that some data may still be accessible through cache even if the database is unavailable.
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    Concurrency
    One of the best features of Elixir is concurrency. i.e., its ability to execute multiple tasks at the same time. The concurrency in Elixir is maintained through Actors. Actors are single-threaded processes (contained) that can deliver and receive messages among themselves. The Actors share no memory and communicate through asynchronous message passing.
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    Speed
    This programming language is very fast. It creates smaller file spaces and also improves the speed of APIs. It compiles into BEAM bytecode and gets all the speed benefits of Erlang without the performance issues.

    Many developers consider Elixir to be faster than Ruby and NodeJS, making it highly suitable for application development and server design.
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    Clear syntax
    One of the most important benefits of Elixir is the availability of easy code sets. Learning and using Elixir is very easy. It boasts clear syntax rules, and the final code is highly readable. The language itself has many qualities, such as being functional, distributed, and process-oriented.
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    Scalability
    Elixir is known for its traffic management. Erlang’s BEAM makes full use of its CPUs and distributed hardware. You can also effectively use Multi-core CPUs via Elixir.

    Elixir’s Garbage collector (GC) is also very smart. Instead of running GC for cleanup for all processes, Elixir destroys small processes when their function is completed. This improves the overall performance of the system as GC never overloads it.

Top Elixir frameworks

Some of the most popular Elixir frameworks are:

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    Phoenix
    It’s a web development framework used to create low latency distributed systems. Phoenix uses a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture. It has features such as Real-Time LiveView and built-in channels for ease of development. Through its dashboards, you can easily maintain code, reduce cognitive load, and empower highly agile and scalable web applications and servers.
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    Nerves
    Nerves is a popular Elixir framework for embedded software development. It’s a reliable platform that provides the infrastructure and services to create, deploy, and secure IoT apps and devices. In addition, it supports Lean systems which simplifies maintenance.
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    Sugar
    Sugar is an open-source modular framework for Elixir projects. It can build a broad set of classes that you can use for different platforms such as .NET and Cocoa. It allows effective code sharing between clients and promises features such as speed and ease of development.
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    Hedwig
    Hedwig is a communication framework for Elixir. You can design an OTP application through it or use it as a dependency for an OTP application. Hedwig also supports Elixir in building robust APIs. It is shipped with the console adapter – Hedwig:
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    Kitto
    Kitto is an open-source framework for Elixir through which you can design interactive dashboards. It comprises a database-agnostic data-access layer that can be used to map any database into a dashboard. It can also be used to port applications to different databases.

    You can pass the business declaratively or through JS fragments on the client side. The Kitto framework enables you to create diverse, rich Internet applications.
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    Hiring Guide

  • Elixir 5

    Interview Questions

  • Elixir 6

    Job Description

Although the language is comparatively new in the world of development, Elixir gives developers a lot to work with. As a functional programming language, it gives developers the ability to quickly write high-quality code that not only scales easily but also recovers automatically upon one of its minimal failures. 

With local reasoning of code, Elixir is functional and data is immutable. This means that hunting down bugs isn’t an enormously time-consuming and frustrating process as it is with languages that feature variables that are passed throughout various places. Elixir and other functional programming languages put emphasis on concise, smaller functions with a clear purpose. For devs, this means that it’s easy to understand and figure out the result ahead of writing something to facilitate easier testability. Basic changes also occur at a much more rapid pace.

Elixir is a great choice of language for a variety of projects. The Phoenix framework makes it an ideal choice for web development or for building small, microservice-oriented applications. Larger apps also benefit from the language’s capability to break things down to simplify the management of large codebases. It supports real-time web development as well as stateful web infrastructure for large projects.


How Difficult Is It to Hire Developers With Elixir Skills and Experience?

As Elixir is still such a new language on the programming scene, there are not many junior engineers in the dev community at this time. This means that companies must hire middle or senior-level Elixir developers with experience in Erlang as well. 

The good news is that the right mid-level developer should have the ability to pick it up with time. However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t a language for a new developer or someone without a strong understanding of functional programming. A good Elixir developer must know how to put the key features of the language - scalability, immutability, and low memory usage - to their advantage.

Generally, Elixir developers require a toolkit consisting of:

  • Wombat - For use of Elixir and Erlang monitoring.
  • HoneyBadger - To manage Elixir errors.
  • Postman - A service for testing JSON APIs built on the language. 
  • HEX - A package manager for use with both Elixir and Erlang.

What are the advantages of using Elixir over other web development languages?

  • It offers high scalability potential as it builds on Erlang’s syntax. This means it accommodates the needs of everything from artificial intelligence to Internet of Things applications. It also works for running apps on multiple virtual servers at the same time.
  • Elixir’s concurrency means its apps support multithreading without hindering performance and offers continual efficiency.
  • It’s a favorite language because of its many safety mechanisms. Elixir offers a robust failure alert system and its application elements are independent. This means that if there is a system failure, the various app components hosted on a different server continue to run.
  • The language’s syntax is succinct and easy to understand. 
  • It supports real-time processing on both the server-side and the client-side. 

What Is an Elixir Module?

A module within Elixir is a piece or section of Erlang code that consists of attributes and function declarations. A period symbol separates each module separation. Each module features a well-defined structure with a value and a tag as well. The value of said attribute is only allowed as a literal item while a tag is an atom. Attribute meanings are either user-defined or pre-defined.


How Does Elixir Handle Concurrency?

The concurrency of Elixir is thanks to the Actor model where a single process is considered an independent actor. The virtual machine then manages the data exchange generally while elements of the system also exchange data. Each process features fully isolated memory processes to ensure the independence of each element. Processes rely on the mailbox and commands for communication while also using loops to ensure long-running actor’s stability.

We are looking for a passionate and dedicated developer specializing in Elixir and Erlang programming languages. The right candidate has a solid foundation in computer science with a passion for software craftsmanship and clean code architecture. The ability to meet objectives, determine necessary app and software features/functionality, and the ability to recommend improvements for existing systems are required.


Job Responsibilities:

  • Work independently or within a team of engineers to develop web applications, support for existing systems, APIs, and many other projects.
  • Design and implement best practices for cross-functional teams.
  • Design database schema.
  • Design and develop multi-instance, scalable applications for AI and IoT projects.
  • Collaborate with designers, other devs, stakeholders, and clients to formulate solutions based on business goals for successful execution. 
  • Participate in code review, pairing, and knowledge sharing as well as all phases of the product life cycle. 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors of Science in Computer Science (or similar degree)
  • 4+ years in software engineering experience
  • 3+ years in Elixir specifically
  • Experience developing services within AWS 
  • Database experience
  • Tech Stack including Elixir Phoenix, Ruby on Rails, Erlang, Git, JavaScript, etc.

Related Pages

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