I attended an excellent Erlang workshop presented by Martin Logan Friday morning at the Flourish conference hosted by UIC, my alma mater. Martin is a great presenter who is a lead developer of the Erlware open source project as well as an author of an upcoming Erlang book. I recorded parts of the workshop using the Flip Mino HD. If you missed this event you might want to check the upcoming Erlang Factory conference where Martin will be presenting again. Otherwise, check out the videos at the end of this post. There was a great turnout at this event.
Is it worth your while to learn a new language with such a strange syntax? IMHO, it certainly is! I was first convinced after reading The End Of The Free Lunch which explains the paradigm shift in processor design from higher speed to multi-core and the subsequent need for concurrency oriented programming. I continued to read up on concurrency oriented languages and the Actor model, and I found out about all the fuss about Erlang. I have had far too much experience with Java applications that crash under load due to concurrency issues related to the Java shared memory model, so Erlang really piqued my interest.
It was pretty easy for me to commit to Erlang/OTP for new distributed services middleware when I worked at Orbitz Worldwide, especially since Martin is employed there as a Technical Manager. He mentored a very small team of developers who wrote an awesome RESTful web services reverse proxy using Erlang/OTP. It provides for robust and fault tolerant service registration, request routing and monitoring in only a few hundred lines of code. Congrats to the team at Orbitz for recently deploying this app to production! I plan to apply the same design for Sears Holdings’ Online Division as we continue to build out our platform.
I have a couple more videos that I’ll upload later.