Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World Paperback – 21 Jul 2007
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I would like to thank the pragmatic programmers for publishing this book.
-- samzenpus, Slashdot.org, September 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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'.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well written and comprehensive guide to Erlang.
Some neglected areas and unexplained areas early on that required me to look esle where for answers unfortunately, but... Read more
This book has opened my eyes to a whole new way of engineering. It really is a great and well written book. Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2013 by Mr. S. E. Giles
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