DEV Community

Cover image for Erlang Highlights 2019 - Best Of The BEAM.
Erlang Solutions for Erlang Solutions

Posted on

Erlang Highlights 2019 - Best Of The BEAM.

Despite being over 30 years old (and open source for 21), Erlang continues to be evolving, finding new industries to impact, fresh use cases and exciting stories.
In February 2019, the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation was announced at Code BEAM San Francisco. This group brings together a diverse community of BEAM users, including corporate and commercial interests, in the Erlang and Elixir Ecosystem. It encourages the continued development of technologies and open source projects based on/around the BEAM, its runtime and languages. This is an exciting step to ensure the ongoing success of the technologies we specialise in as their hashtag so aptly puts it, #weBEAMtogether.

Erlang's own enigmatic standing in the developer community was best summed up by StackOverflow's annual developer survey. This year Erlang was featured as one of the top 10 paid languages for developers. It also featured in all three of the most loved, dreaded and wanted technologies.

Throughout 2019, there have been many fantastic articles, guides, podcasts and talks given by members of the community showing off the capabilities of the technology. If you're looking for inspiration, or want to see why a language that is over 30 years old is still provides some of the best paid jobs, check out these fantastic stories.

Top Erlang Resources 2019


We were privileged to host a panel of industry legends including Sir Tony Hoare, Carl Hewitt and the late Joe Armstrong. What followed was an open discussion about the need for concurrency and how it is likely to evolve in the future. Carl Hewitt is the designer of logic programming language Planner, he is known for his work on evolving the actor model. Sir Tony Hoare developed the sorting algorithm Quicksort. He has been highly decorated for his work within Computer Science including six Honourary Doctorates and a Knighthood in the year 2000. Most in our community will be familiar with Joe Armstrong as being one of the inventors of Erlang, and someone whose work was highly influential to the field of concurrency. Each of our three guests are highly celebrated for their work and approaches to concurrency and impact it in their own way, whilst using different technologies. The wisdom that these three legends hold is clearly on show during the discussion. It is a truly must-watch talk for anyone with a passing interest in Erlang, Elixir and the BEAM.

How to introduce dialyser to a large project

Dialyser is a fantastic tool to identify discrepancies and errors in Erlang code. Applying dialyser to a considerable codebase can lead to performance issues, particularly when you are working with a large codebase that has never been analysed with dialyser before. In this blog, Brujo Benavides demonstrates how the team at NextRoll were able to reduce discrepancies in the code by a third, in just a week while also setting up the system to be able to include dialyser in the ongoing development.
Read the blog here.

Five 9's for five years at the UK’s National Health Service

Martin Sumner joined the Elixir Talk podcast for a fantastic discussion of the work they're doing at the NHS. Their centralised exchange point handles over 65 million record requests a day. Availability is vital due to the nature of medical information. Using Riak, they have managed to maintain 99.999% availability for over five years, an impressive effort. Listen to the podcast here.

Sasa Juric shared the Soul of Erlang

One of the most shared and talked about conferences videos of 2019 was Sasa Juric's 'the soul of Erlang' at GoTo Chicago 2019, and with good reason. It is an articulate, passionate summary of what makes Erlang so unique, and why it can achieve things that are so difficult in other technologies. Watch the video here.

Who is using Erlang & why?

When we launched our blog on the companies using Erlang and why we had no idea just how much it would resonate with the community. To date, there have been over 25,000 visits to the page. It was the top story on HackerNews and continues to generate a high volume of visits four months after its initial release. The reception to this blog shows the ongoing interest in the language, and the appetite for people sharing in-production examples of Erlang at work. Read the blog here.

BEAM extreme

AdRoll deals with an average of half-a-million real-time bid requests per second, with spikes substantially higher than that. Each big spike has a significant financial implication. As a result, they've had to develop a set of tricks to give their system a little performance boost. In this talk at ElixirConf, Miriam Pena demonstrates some of the tactics she's seen and made to provide the BEAM with an extra edge when it comes to speed or memory. Watch the talk here.

Ten years of Erlang

Fred Hebert is an experienced, passionate and respected member of the Erlang community. His conference talks, books and webinars are all extremely valuable resources. This year, he celebrated ten years as part of the community and took time to reflect on Erlang's past, its growth, and where it may go in the future. The blog is a fantastic read, and we recommend it for anyone who is passionate about the BEAM. Read the blog here.

Testable, high performance, large scale distributed Erlang

Christopher Meiklejohn presents the design of an alternative runtime system for improved scalability and reduced latency in distributed actor applications using Partisan, which is built in Erlang. Watch the talk here.

Erlang for Blockchain

As blockchain continues to increase the number of in-production uses, such as Walmart's use of smart contracts in their logistics supply chain, Erlang has increasingly become the language of choice for blockchain providers. ArcBlock joined the Erlang Ecosystem Foundation as a founding sponsor, and also joined us for guest blogs and a webinar. Aeternity is another big advocate for the use of Erlang in blockchain development. You can read about their experience using the BEAM for blockchain here.

Solving embarrassingly obvious problems in Erlang

Often, when people complain about the syntax of Erlang, they are making simple errors that can be fixed with a change of mindset. In this blog, Garret Smith shows how to make simple shifts to eliminate these errors and, in the process, become a better programmer. Read his solutions here.

Whatsapp user migration

Whatsapp continues to be one of the most famous examples of Erlang development. This year, they spoke to the crowd at Code BEAM SF about how they migrated their 1.5 billion users to the Facebook infrastructure. Watch their talk here. And, for those interested, Whatsapp are currently growing their London team.


2019 showed that there is still a demand for Erlang and the reliability and fault-tolerance it delivers. 2020 is already looking like an exciting year. The growth of FinTech, digital banking and blockchain all provide exciting avenues for expansion for the language. The newly developed Erlang Ecosystem Foundation has working groups dedicated to developing libraries and tools to make the Erlang Ecosystem even easier to use to help grow the community. And, for the first time, the BEAM will have a dedicated room at FOSDEM, which is sure to introduce more developers to the language. If you'd like to catch all of our news, guides and webinars in 2020 and beyond, join our mailing list.

You may also like

Best of Elixir 2019
Best of RabbitMQ 2019 - Coming soon
Best of FinTech 2019 - Coming soon

Top comments (0)