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Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World Paperback – 21 Jul 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 526 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (21 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193435600X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356005
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I would like to thank the pragmatic programmers for publishing this book.
-- samzenpus, Slashdot.org, September 2007


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
This book is outstanding. It's easy to read, fun and, maybe, exciting. The exposition is lucid, and exploits a practical, hands-on, example-driven approach throughout. I enjoyed both the breadth and depth of coverage. It interweaves working code with full, clear explanation, background and valuable insight. It felt like discovering chair-lifts after years of sidling up mountain slopes on ski's.

Erlang and OTP are comparable to Java and core J2EE. Erlang/OTP is freely available, Open Source, software from Ericsson, the telecoms company. Erlang has several impressive attributes, but one is Ericssons claim it is used in telecom's hardware to deliver 99.9999999% (roughly 1 second in 30 years) availability, beating most Enterprise applications by a few 9's.

The excellent roadmap in chapter 1 explains the books organisation and chunking of content; roughly: sequential programming, concurrent programming, distributed programming, interfacing, data storage, databases, OTP and multi-core programming. There is good depth to the content. The order of material can be a little strange, but if you are familiar with programming, it's likely straightforward.

The book sets off at a good pace, quickly getting up and running with 'sequential Erlang'. Unlike many programming books, Armstrong deals with the practical nitty-gritty of downloading, installing, compiling, debugging and running Erlang on Mac, Linux and Windows. He returns to development practicalities at several points to support the increasing sophistication of applications. I felt that he really wants to make learning and applying Erlang straightforward, and he succeeded for me; everything worked 'silky smooth'.
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Format: Paperback
A good introduction to Erlang, with worked examples. Reading style is fairly formal but quite readable, easy to get on with.

My one gripe with this book is that the most it states about race conditions is that you should write programs to not be sensitive to the order they receive messages from different processes, and if not, bugs can ensue. For such a significant problem area, and a paradigm that will be new to most people, that's not enough - some examples of what problems there are, how to solve them, and what patterns work well would have made the book twice as valuable. Similarly, the advice on how many processes is "Just enough, and not too much", which I'm sure is right, but really is longing for more to be said. (Hopefully a "More Erlang" book would cover these). Both topics receive 1-2 paragraphs.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Coming from an imperative programming background I found this a gentle introduction to the advantages of functional design. It has been many years since I studied ML, but I found those memories flooding back with the first chapters on list manipulation.

I would argue that this isn't appropriate for complete beginners to programming, and may not be suitable even for those with a cursory knowledge of procedural languages - unless - they are willing to put the effort in.

Erlang (and functional languages in general) certainly make you think. However the discipline you will gain from this will undoubtedly pay back in a rewarding way.

Joe is a natural teacher so the book flows very nicely and builds upon previous chapters.

Why not 5 stars? Sometimes concepts are introduced such as Tail recursion without any real clear theoretical underpinning (probably to keeps things simple). I found reading web pdf documents on the areas covered by Joe simultaneously really helped.

In the earlier chapters up to and including advanced sequential programming it would have been useful to have a 'complete' program demonstrating as many concepts as possible. Instead we see mainly isolated working code fragments, so it can be hard to see the bigger picture. This is a minor criticism however and although would for me have been useful but wasn't essential.

No exercises in the early chapters so really had to work twice as hard to make sure I comprehended the concepts introduced.

Overall a great introduction.
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Format: Paperback
I started learning Erlang by reading material available from internet and after a bit of stuggle I bought this book. This book turned out to be a really valuable resource that made the learning process much easier than it would have been without. The book is well written and is easy to read.
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