Erlang Programming
A Concurrent Approach to Software Development
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: June 2009
Pages: 498

This book is an in-depth introduction to Erlang, a programming language ideal for any situation where concurrency, fault tolerance, and fast response is essential. Erlang is gaining widespread adoption with the advent of multi-core processors and their new scalable approach to concurrency. With this guide you'll learn how to write complex concurrent programs in Erlang, regardless of your programming background or experience.

Written by leaders of the international Erlang community -- and based on their training material -- Erlang Programming focuses on the language's syntax and semantics, and explains pattern matching, proper lists, recursion, debugging, networking, and concurrency.

This book helps you:

  • Understand the strengths of Erlang and why its designers included specific features
  • Learn the concepts behind concurrency and Erlang's way of handling it
  • Write efficient Erlang programs while keeping code neat and readable
  • Discover how Erlang fills the requirements for distributed systems
  • Add simple graphical user interfaces with little effort
  • Learn Erlang's tracing mechanisms for debugging concurrent and distributed systems
  • Use the built-in Mnesia database and other table storage features

Erlang Programming provides exercises at the end of each chapter and simple examples throughout the book.

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O'Reilly MediaErlang Programming
 
4.6

(based on 7 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (6)
  • Helpful examples (6)
  • Accurate (5)
  • Concise (5)
  • Well-written (5)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (6)
    • Novice (5)
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    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Excellent introduction to Erlang

    By Christoffer Ekeroth

    from Stockholm, Sweden

    About Me Developer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

      If someone asked me to make a prediction about what will be the "next big thing" in the world of programming languages I would say: "Erlang, or some language like it". Erlang, in case you didn't know, is a functional programming language developed at the Swedish telecom company Ericsson, for use in telephony systems and other large-scale concurrent applications. As such, it was built with distribution and concurrency in mind, making it a very good match for any kind of programming task where things need to happen in parallel.

      If you think this sounds interesting I recommend picking up Erlang Programming by Simon Thompson and Francesco Cesarini. The book is written in a very hands-on style, guiding the reader step-by-step through the various aspects of Erlang. In this sense the book is very pedagogical---it shows that the authors have a lot of experience in teaching programming languages. This is also one of the book's major strengths; the reader is not only taught the Erlang language, but also how to reason about concurrent programming problems in general. I especially liked how concurrenct programming is introduced early in the book, which then seques nicely into discussions about concurrent programming patterns and the Erlang OTP framework in later chapters.

      Apart from being a good introduction to Erlang, the book is also quite exhaustive in its coverage of the language and associated tools, making it good reference material. While learning Erlang I often kept the book close to my computer, since it explains many topics in a more succinct and applicable manner than the official documentation.

      It's not sunshine and roses all the way though; at times I found the organization of the book to be somewhat puzzling. For example, the introductory chapter contains a detailed explanation of how Erlang handles multicore processors, which might have been better suited as an appendix. Another example is the choice to introduce dynamic software upgrade---a feature that will most likely be of little utility to beginners---before list comprehensions and anonymous functions, which are very useful in day-to-day Erlang programming. In all, I think the book could've benefited from a second run of editing.

      Small niggles aside, Erlang Programming is an excellent introduction to an exciting language that allows you to build very interesting programs. One thing does puzzle me though; why is there a kangaroo on the cover when the most appropriate cover animal would clearly be the octopus?

      (9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Excellent book you can read and reread

      By Jacoby

      from London, UK

      About Me Designer, Developer

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      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well structured
      • Well-written

      Cons

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        • Student

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

        My copy is falling to pieces through overuse.

        A beautifully written and skilfully edited reference book that brings Erlang to practical life. Even better than Joe Armstrong's Programming Erlang book, which is itself great.

        Congratulations.

        (10 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great book

        By Jose Luis

        from Seville, Spain

        About Me Developer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

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          • Intermediate

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

          The best Erlang book I read

          (1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Great way to get started with Erlang

          By Tony Cappellini

          from Silicon Valley, CA.

          About Me Developer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate
            • Novice

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

            My first involvement with Erlang was while I had this book as a guide. I had no significant experience with a functional programming concepts or "real concurrency".
            I had been disillusioned about concurrency by using Python (aka Python threads).
            This is the main reason I have decide to investigate Erlang.

            The book starts of with an interesting history and overview of Erlang, an introduction to concurrency, system robustness in distributed computation. Also included are a comparison to C++, and of course the "Why should I use Erlang" section.

            "Erlang Programming" is well-organized and covers enough of the key topics for a beginner to get started using Erlang as well as some advanced topics.
            The author takes you through sequential and concurrent programming using Erlang as well as pattern matching, message passing, processes, error handling, GUI's and distributed processing. There is a lot of material here not to be glossed over by newcomers. Functional programming requires a different way of thinking about structuring your code, and that new paradigm won't come quickly to most people.

            One of the more-memorable paragraphs which strongly advocates for Erlang's implementation of concurrency is on Page 9….

            Erlang and Functional Programming

            "The recent success of Erlang is a success for functional programming, too, because it uses functional programming principles without making a big fuss about it: they are simply the right foundation on which to build a language with concurrency designed in from the start.

            One of the prevalent myths in the community in the mid-1980s was that functional programming languages would be the only languages capable of working on the general-purpose parallel machines that were "just around the corner." It didn't turn out like that 20 years ago, but perhaps that's exactly what we are seeing now in the way that Erlang is being used to provide massive concurrency in server farms, cloud computing, and on the multicore processors inside all our computers, from laptops on up."

            I highly recommend this book to you if you are looking at learning Erlang. It will guide you through most of what you need to know to get up and running.

            (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            highly recommended

            By bharat

            from bangalore

            About Me Developer

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            Pros

            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

              I have been trying to get started on erlang for some years now. Could never get myself to go through the documentation available fully. Being new to functional programming perhaps was the biggest hurdle.

              However thanks to this book, 2-3 days has given much insight. It gets started slow and then picks up a lot of momentum. I feel confident to start on my (mega) pet projects :)

              (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Excellent reading and up to date!

              By Andreas Lundmark

              from Gothenburg, Sweden

              About Me Designer, Developer, Tester

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Intermediate
                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

                I have been using Erlang for quite a while in my line of work and was curious to see if this book would teach me anything new. It did! Erlang Programming is an excellent read for novice and experienced programmers alike. It covers the syntax and semantics of the language in depth, and explains how to think out of the box and get used to the "Erlang Way". The second half is dedicated to more advanced subjects.

                What I especially liked about the book is that it is up to date with the latest R13 release and includes a section on the TypEr tool, a chapter on Erlang and Test Driven Development and how to interface Erlang with Ruby. It also has a chapter dedicated to the WxErlang library, a graphics package which was just released as part of the distro. The authors obviously worked closely with the OTP development team on what at the time of writing must have been undocumented features.

                My favourite chapters, however, were those on Tracing Erlang based systems and on Style and Efficiency. The experience of the authors is truly reflected in these chapters, and they are worth the price of the book alone.

                I warmly recommend this book to those interested in learning more about Erlang or interested in the foundations needed to build fault tolerant, soft real time systems. It is easy, entertaining reading. A must have in the bookshelf of a software professional!

                (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Erlang, an exceptional language!

                By DaveP

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about O'Reilly Media Erlang Programming:

                2009-07-18T09:10:18Z

                Review. Erlang Programming.

                Dave Pawson. UK.

                'Different'. That's my initial reaction. I've yet to finish the book,

                in fact I doubt I will finish it. So far I keep diving back to earlier

                material for clarification, confirmation etc. It seems to be written

                as a reference book, rather than a straight read. Practical it

                certainly is, the examples are not contrived but seem to be drawn from

                real life usage. I certainly didn't find them easy to follow without

                working at them. That seems to apply to the rest of the book too. The

                more you put into it (reading / studying) the more you'll get out of

                it.

                I figure the authors have been there and done that quite seriously,

                since I keep marking passages with 'advice and experience', as if

                they've been bitten and are passing on that information to the

                reader. I'm quite impressed with the quality of the code. It appears

                to me as the sort of code that is written on the fourth time round?

                Get it working, realise it's rubbish, re-write, learn a bit more and

                fourth time round the abstraction is about right, the code 'simple'

                (wrong term) and flexible. Could be just my misinterpretation

                though. I feel I could 'steal with glee' and gain significantly from

                re-using their code.

                Look out for 'dense' writing. By this I mean a simple passage that

                I've read and moved on... until I'm missing something. When I re-read

                the passage I get a little more out of it, then on third reading I

                understand the content. I guess this is typical of an engineers

                output. Concise writing without the flourishes found in less technical

                writing. Try and recognise it and you'll get more from the book.

                The quality of the content is high. The layout of the chapters (order

                of presentation) I can't comment on as someone new to Erlang. So far

                I'm happy with it.

                All in all I like the book. It is doing what I wanted, providing a

                good introduction to Erlang - in fact it leaves me quite intrigued!

                From my experience, you are most likely to benefit if you have a

                running Erlang system on your PC whilst you read, some of the

                exercises will (for me) need more time and a bit more work to

                comprehend the ideas behind the code, rather than just seeing the code

                running.

                All in all a good read, does what it says on the tin, as one of our

                adverts says.

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