Erlang

A concurrent and distributed programming language developed by Ericsson.

Introduction

Erlang is a prominent programming language and an excellent runtime environment. It’s an asynchronous language that completes tasks quickly and has built-in functions for distribution and fault tolerance. Engineers use Erlang to build real-time systems and software. It’s a robust and dynamically typed language with high scalability. 

 Erlang uses OTP (Open Telecom Platform) libraries to accomplish its tasks. Users can create event-driven triggers through the event manager. Distribution is implemented through TCP/IP, and the language offers real-time tracking of data. It’s also easy to upgrade and maintain with standard release handling principles. 

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Erlang Developers Hiring Guide

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

When was Erlang invented?

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What is Erlang used for?

Messaging applications

Due to its concurrency distribution properties, engineers can use Erlang to develop instant messaging applications. Many modern messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook use Erlang.

IoT products

Erlang is also used to develop Internet of Things (IoT) products and services since it can communicate directly with application-level Pmods. Network engineers can use it to solve traffic and data congestion problems for edge systems.  

Telecom and eCommerce

The main purpose of developing Erlang was to use it in telecommunication services. That’s why it includes a sophisticated runtime environment and OTP libraries. The applications and systems developed using Erlang and OTP are more adaptable and result-oriented.

Blockchain development

Erlang has many high-level features that you can use to design blockchain applications with ease and flexibility. Blockchain applications need to scale while maintaining the decentralized nature of the nodes and data. Erlang can easily provide that since it has inherent fault tolerance and increasing uptime of the system. Blockchain also requires transactions to be uninterrupted and generate real-time responses for those requests, both of which can be programmed easily with Erlang. 

Banking

Because of its high availability, developers can use Erlang to create online banking solutions. Erlang can also be used to leverage multicore technologies, and development can be done rapidly. Fintechs also use it to deliver elaborate financial tools like hedge fund platforms that require low latency, high accuracy, and detailed order submission. 

What makes Erlang unique?

  • Concurrency

    The best part about Erlang is that it has a vast potential for concurrency. It has several lightweight threads that can be handled simultaneously. Each thread runs a different process, and the Erlang VM schedules these processes.

    These concurrent threads improve communication and efficiency. These have a very low memory footprint, i.e., Erlang VM can run millions of threads simultaneously without overloading the system.

  • Distributed programming

    An important aspect of Erlang is that it allows you to effectively use distributed programming. It has message parsing that allows data transfer without using shared memory.

    Hot code loading allows you to change service code without affecting the execution of other services. Even Erlang’s built-in database, Mnesia, is a distributed database.

  • Scalability

    Another great advantage of Erlang is its scalability. You can add more machines/CPUs to handle traffic or add more cores to the existing CPUs. And the servers built through scaling these machines are TCP non-blocking, i.e., you can use them for different applications such as e-commerce apps, digital messaging applications, or telecom systems.

  • Reliability

    Erlang has outstanding fault tolerance. Its supervisor and gen-servers easily start lightweight failed tasks. It can also self-heal, i.e., manage bugs on a smaller level.

    An engineer can set a supervision strategy to define the restarting process, threshold setting, and corner cases. The language can also perform trace capturing for root cause analysis. You can also do live debugging, logging directly into nodes to troubleshoot them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs on Python Development Services!

Erlang doesn’t have shared memory. Message passing allows Erlang processes to communicate with each other. The sender process sends a generalized object to the receiver process. The receiver process is responsible for understanding the general object sent by the sender process and then invoking subsequent code. Message passing in Erlang is Asynchronous.

Erlang is a versatile language, and there are many things that you can accomplish through it. However, Erlang shouldn’t be used for tasks that constantly require performance optimization. It should also not be used for low-level processes like parsing and string transforming (You can use it, but it will be inefficient).

The examples of applications that you shouldn’t develop via Erlang are GUI desktop applications, large-volume models that require high computation, and applications that don’t require real-time updates.

These are the few predefined macros in Erlang 

?Module: Returns the name of the existing module

? Module_String: Returns the name of the present module as a string

? File: Returns the present file name.

? Machine: Returns the current machine name

Yes, there are a lot of online documents and references available that can help you get started. Since Erlang is an established language, there is a lot of community support that you can get online. 

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    Hiring Guide

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    Interview Questions

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    Job Description

What Is Erlang?

Erlang was initially designed with the purpose of supporting and building telephony technologies — that is, platforms that handle complicated systems that required continuous usage, high volumes of consumers, and concurrency. That’s why so many phone companies, such as T-Mobile, have embraced the language.

A general-purpose, open-source language, Erlang has a number of benefits, including the fact that it can be used for a long period without interruption. Other advantages include:

  • Scalability
  • Concurrency
  • User-friendliness
  • Easy integration
  • Built-in support
  • Functionality
  • Reliability
  • Declarative syntax
  • Memory management

Today, Erlang is used for messaging and chatting, banking, eCommerce, and blockchain, along with telecommunications projects.

How Difficult Is It to Find a Skilled Erlang Developer?

While Erlang isn’t that difficult for a seasoned developer to learn, the language isn’t widely used. Unless you operate in a major tech capital like San Francisco, you’ll probably have some difficulty finding a developer specializing in the language who will work on-site. But there’s a considerable number of Erlang developers working remotely around the world.

What to Look for in an Erlang Developer

Even though the programming language isn’t one of the most popular, there are many instances where Erlang is the ideal choice, particularly if you’re working on communications and related platforms and services. If you are in the market for an Erlang developer, there are some qualities to be on the lookout for.

Of course, experience using the language is the number 1 priority. Given how small the number of Erlang developers, they are expected to be well-versed in the language and its intricacies. These specialists should also have a background in building communications and messaging platforms. Knowledge of related languages, such as Elixir, will also come in handy, as will an ability to leverage the tools associated with these languages:

  • OTP
  • Riak
  • ejabberd
  • XMPP

A passion for the language and willingness to work with other developers are also essential soft skills for an Erlang developer.

What separates Erlang from other languages?

Erlang’s ability to change code without disruption — or “hot-swapping” — is one of its chief qualities. It’s also known for concurrency or handling multiple processes simultaneously. Processes exchange messages to communicate with one another.

Other notable characteristics of the language are reliability, scalability, fault tolerance, and user-friendliness.


For which types of projects should you use Erlang?

Erlang was originally built to support messaging systems that need to handle high loads of concurrent exchanges. This persists today, with Erlang having applications beyond telecommunications systems: chat platforms like WhatsApp, eCommerce stores, FinTech solutions, and banking tools, and blockchain, to name just a few.

Erlang is also useful for building web apps, although its cousin, Elixir, may be a better choice.


What tools do Erlang developers use?

There are many tools an Erlang developer should have in their repertoire. For example, there are several tools intended for working within a shell, such as user_default and ~/.erlang. Testing tools include QuickCheck and Proper, among others, and debugging platforms such as rebug are used for debugging purposes. These are just some of the ways to support development with Erlang.

Ejabberd, an open-source, XMPP server, is written in Erlang, and in collaboration with the language, it’s ideal for creating messaging platforms and chat apps.


What frameworks are available for Erlang?

There are many frameworks that facilitate quicker and easier development with Erlang. OTP is the chief resource an Erlang developer should use. Web frameworks include ChicagoBoss, Nitrogen, Zotonic, and N20, along with the micro-framework Axiom. Erlang Web is a former web framework, but it’s no longer in use today.


What is Elixir?

Elixir is built on top of Erlang as another general-purpose programming language that shares many of the same qualities and applications. Concurrency, scalability, easy maintenance, high performance, and user-friendliness are some of the advantages the 2 languages share. Elixir also uses the Erlang virtual machine and is capable of creating fault-tolerant applications, like its cousin language. 


When should you use Erlang vs. Elixir or vice versa?

Although both languages support development of this nature, Elixir is often the better choice when you’re looking to build scalable platforms and web apps. It’s also a good choice if you have a highly skilled team and need ultra-quick development. Meanwhile, it’s probably better to go with Erlang if you’re building products in the FinTech or communications space and don’t have a huge budget at your disposal.

We are looking for an experienced software developer specializing in Erlang to spearhead projects focused on telecom and related services. In addition to building applications and platforms from scratch, you will also be tasked with scaling our existing software.


Responsibilities

  • Design and build software using Erlang and other languages and tools based on client requirements
  • Debug products
  • Communicate with team members and stakeholders
  • Assist with scaling existing systems

Skills And Qualifications

  • At least 5 years of experience using Erlang
  • Extensive knowledge and experience with the Erlang ecosystem, including frameworks, libraries, and other tools
  • Experience developing telecoms platforms
  • Knowledge of additional programming languages, including Java, C, Clojure, Scala, and Elixir
  • Ability to work with a team in a fast-paced environment
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field

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