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Erlang and OTP in Action

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  • Posted December 4, 2010

    Thorough, makes difficult concepts easy to understand

    An excellent book on Erlang, with an emphasis on writing production-worthy code.

    The book is divided into 3 sections, as follows:
    1) Erlang and OTP basics.
    2) Building a production Erlang application.
    3) Integration and tuning.

    Section one covers basics of Erling and the OTP framework. Material is presented in a format suitable for beginners, with plenty of simple diagrams every couple of pages to illustrate key concepts. OTP in particular is covered in great detail, something intermediate-and-above users will appreciate. Section one alone would be a good Erlang book, but there is much more.

    Section two built upon an application-building scenario. The scenario is a web application that's suffering from poor performance, so Erlang is used to build a caching mechanism. Erlang is strong on networking, so the reader builds everything needed from the bottom up. This section adds much value, as there is a pointed difference between knowing language syntax and knowing best practices in writing an application. (This book gives you the best practices as well as the language basics.) The chapters in this part of the book usually start by describing some desired functionality, then explaining how Erlang can provide that functionality, then finally going step-by-step through implementing the change. It reads like an in-depth tutorial.

    Section three is about integrating your Erlang application with external entities. Integration-by-messaging is covered via JSON, while deeper integration needs are explained as Erlang's language integration mechanisms are explained. One notable point: JInterface, the Erlang-Java interface, is given a whole chapter (other Erlang books give this topic very little coverage in comparison.)

    I found the book well-written and very informative. This is a big book-- almost 400 pages-- and all of it is worthwhile and nicely explanatory. I would recommend this book for Erlang coders of all experience levels.

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