Sync’ up! … without getting drained

jan 13

Ten years without Elixir

José Valim committed the first bit of Elixir code January 9th, 2011, which marks a ten-year anniversary for the kid brother of Erlang. It’s incredible how time flies on certain paradigms, while crawls on others.

I never got into Elixir, largely because it looked like Ruby. I was a Rubyist for a good while, spent time and effort to learn where to park my commas, semicolons, and periods in Erlang, so I never felt that Elixir was something I wanted.

Nor have I since. There was a good web framework that came along, and since I’m of that age, you’d thing that Phoenix would have pulled me in: it never did. I kept hacking Erlang and just used lighter web APIs like Cowboy & Elli, instead of going all in on a full fledged web framework.

From my Erlang-colored glasses, Elixir seems to have a lot of wins. Their packaging efforts looks like a mature tool (Hex), and nobody seems to be complaining about the documentation, an issue Erlang always had (though to be honest, I never quite grasped what aspect of the Erlang documentation to be problematic).

On the other hand, some of the syntax Elixir offers is retrograde, in my humble opinion. Erlang seems to have prettier syntax now that I have spent so much time with it. A moot point, perhaps, considering how subjective beauty is.

My strongest anti-Elixir sentiment (from armchair reach) is their use of pipes. I know mixologists love the Elixir pipe operator, but for someone who has learned to necessarily un-nest code as severely as I have, I feel as though this operator could be a detriment, or at least come with some prickily moral hazards. More on that can be read here.

Elixir is a cool project, and managed to out-pace Erlang in a lot of areas it struggled (community, tooling, etc.).

Hats off to the Elixir team on ten enormous years of success!