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Elixir Programming: Facts to Know for Better App Development

There many well-known web development languages as Python, PHP, and Ruby that have been successfully used by developers for a long time. There has recently been brought a new technology that is being thoroughly discussed which is called the Elixir programming language.

What is Elixir?

Elixir first appeared in 2012. It is a functional programming language. José Valim built it on top of the Erlang Virtual Machine called BEAM. He made his choice for a good reason. He wanted his new programming language to be concurrent and productive coding language just like Erlang.

There have been 96 Elixir releases since 2012. The latest stable release (version 1.7.3) was in August 2018. Elixir already shows good results in its repository even though it is a young programming language.

Erlang: Technology Behind Elixir

If you want to have a better understanding of Elixir, then it is vital to devote some time to Erlang.

Erlang is a general-purpose functional programming language which was created by Ericson for the development of telephone applications. This purpose of its usage speaks for itself. To provide the non-stop function of said apps, a platform must be stable, concurrent, fault-tolerant, and must support software updates on the go (hot code upgrade). Since Erlang first appeared (1986), this functional language has been coping with this task and demonstrating its battle-proven nature and reliability.

What is Phoenix Framework and How Does It Relate to Elixir?

Phoenix is a web development framework that is written in Elixir and is used for Elixir programming.

Phoenix framework also runs on Erlang VM (BEAM). This means that Phoenix gets all the benefits of Erlang as well.

Phoenix web framework is often compared to Ruby on Rails, and there is a good reason for that. Nowadays these popular web development frameworks seem to be competitors because many developers try to compare them and decide which one is better.

Benefits of Elixir

Elixir and Phoenix are fast. For instance, tests of Elixir’s performance give better results than those for Ruby, and Phoenix response times are measured in microseconds. When we speak about user experience then speed matters a lot. It is wonderful to see that the app responds and reacts fast to all the actions. Moreover, good performance saves energy and money.

This is one of the strong sides of Erlang that is also available for Elixir. Erlang is also called a battle-proven programming language, that is why there is no point in doubting the reliability of Elixir programming as well.

It is the ability to run multiple processes simultaneously but keep them independent of one another. Elixir and Erlang have a high concurrency.

In Elixir programming the speed of development is good. Elixir’s syntax enables a developer to write clean and understandable code without sacrificing the productivity.

Fault tolerance
The two main types of programming mistakes are fault-tolerant in Elixir:
Issues that happen outside an app (e.g. problems with a network)
Internal issues (e.g. wrong data, logic bugs)

There are many nodes that work concurrently in an Elixir/Phoenix application. If there is an error in one node then it will not influence the rest of nodes. As soon as the system notifies them about the issue, they will rearrange their work correspondingly.

Because of the compiled nature of the Elixir programming language, an app won’t start if there are mistakes in Elixir code. To cope with the second type of issue and make sure that an app will work, the Erlang VM isolates modules where mistakes appear and restarts them in isolation. Due to this process, the whole system doesn’t go down.

Elixir programming is ideal for applications that have many users or are actively growing their audience. Elixir can easily cope with much traffic without extra costs for additional servers.

Clean syntax
An Elixir code looks nice because of the clean syntax of Elixir which makes the code easy to write and to read. Elixir is a functional programming language which has a completely different programming paradigm from that used by object-oriented languages. It means that it may take a developer some time to get used to it.

Because of a fact that the Elixir programming language and the Phoenix framework are getting more and more popular, and the feedback from developers, who have worked with these technologies, is positive that is why they must be researched further.

The advantages of Elixir programming are astonishing, and its positions are quite strong to be sure that it will not disappear off the radar.

Full information about Elixir programming


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