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Elixir

Elixir is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications.
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Johanna Larsson blog.jola.dev

Building Hex Diff

Johanna Larsson built the super cool Hex Diff tool for the Elixir community. What does it do?

In short, you input any Hex package name and a version range, and it will generate a highlighted git diff for you, right there in your browser. Not only that, but you can also share the link to the diff, and even highlight a specific row.

In this post on her blog, Johanna goes into the details of how she built the project, how it works, and issues she ran into along the way.

Lars Wikman underjord.io

Lumen - Elixir & Erlang in the browser

Lars Wikman:

The Lumen Project is an alternative implementation of the Erlang VM, more known as the BEAM. It is designed to work in WebAssembly with the specific goal of bringing Elixir and Erlang to the browser with minimal overhead, tightly compiled rather than porting a full VM. Can it replace JS for some developers?

An excellent article, highly recommended. Lars hangs out in our community chat and suggested we do an episode with the Lumen team. Talks are underway, so stay tuned for that.

Elixir github.com

A source code companion to Elixir's official Mix/OTP guide

This is a great resource to have at your disposal while reading the official Elixir docs.

While working throughout the guide - there were multiple positions where the ideolog seemed overwhelming resulting to various logical bugs because of shorthand syntax mismatch. There is no repository available to cross-check your results either to fix your bugs. Hence - I thought it would be nice to have this as a reference guide to how you need to implement your project.

I need this in my life.

Jonathan Clem jclem.net

On the utility of Phoenix LiveView

Jonathan Clem:

What I’m most excited for with Phoenix LiveView isn’t necessarily the cool technology that it really is, but more the freedom that it gives me to quickly implement nice-to-have features that would otherwise be too much work to bother with.

I’m having a lot of fun with Svelte right now, but it’s probably time for me to turn my attention to LiveView. Where there’s enough smoke, there’s usually 🔥…

Phoenix mitchellhanberg.com

Temple – an elegant HTML library for Elixir and Phoenix

Conventional template languages like EEx use a form of interpolation to embed a programming language into a markup language, which can result in some ugly code that can be difficult to write and debug.

Temple is written using pure elixir.

There are some good ideas here, for sure. (Click through for code samples.)

My concern with this (and with pretty much all non-HTML style template languages) is cognitive overhead for folks who’d rather be writing HTML. That being said, if I were creating a web app from scratch all by my lonesome, I’d 💯% give Temple a go.

Rust blog.discordapp.com

Using Rust to scale Elixir for 11 million concurrent users

The Discord team bumped up against some limitations of the BEAM (Erlang’s virtual machine) when dealing with rather large data structures:

The double-edged sword of immutable data structures is that mutations are modeled by taking an existing data structure and an operation and creating a brand new data structure that is the result of applying that operation to the existing data structure.

This meant that when someone joined a server — internally referred to as guilds — with a Member List of 100,000 members, we would have to build a new list with 100,001 members in it.

You’ll want to click through and read all of the data structures they tried to fix this problem. It’s some seriously solid engineering and I love how they continued to measure and push themselves further. Finally, they reached for Rust thanks to BEAM’s NIF feature and really scaled up the speed.

José Valim elixir-lang.org

The Elixir language is now "feature complete"

José Valim, announcing the just-released Elixir v1.9:

… releases was the last planned feature for Elixir. We don’t have any major user-facing feature in the works nor planned. I know for certain some will consider this fact the most excing part of this announcement!

This doesn’t mean the language will stop moving forward, but you’ll have to read the full announcement to get the full picture. The Releases feature looks shiny, for sure. Congrats to all involved for yet another awesome milestone!

Devon C. Estes devonestes.herokuapp.com

A proposal for some new rules for Phoenix contexts

Phoenix 1.3 introduced the idea of Contexts, which I’m generally very much in favor of. However, I wish there was a little bit more structure to the idea. It’s so open ended that I’ve found deciding where best to put a function kind of tricky, and then I frequently end up with duplicate behavior across contexts or have a hard time finding functions later on because the module they’re in made sense at the time, but it doesn’t make as much sense now.

So, I’m proposing the idea of a Primary Context and a Secondary Context.

I’ve also struggled to determine just how to use Contexts to my benefit. It seems that Devon is trying an add more structure approach whereas I have (so far) gone with a YAGNI approach.

Elixir fullstackradio.com

🎧 Jerod talks Elixir and Phoenix on Full Stack Radio

Adam Wathan was gracious enough to invite me on Full Stack Radio to discuss why and how we built this very platform that I’m using to write and you’re using to read.

Most of the show focuses on Elixir itself, with topics ranging from pattern matching and immutability to the pipe operator and deployment. Adam also got me to confess a dirty little secret… I still don’t really know what GenServers are! 😱

Sergiy Kukunin habr.com

The pros and cons of Elixir

In this short Q&A, Sergiy Kukunin, an Elixir expert, shares his thoughts on why Elixir is becoming so popular, its core advantages, and its drawbacks.

Sergiy also shared this as a takeaway to getting started with Elixir.

…the syntax of Elixir has some things in common with Ruby. The languages are entirely different, but it is always good to see symbols and elements you are used to. The simplest thing is to use some of the new Elixir-compatible web-development frameworks. The most popular web framework for Elixir is Phoenix. You should definitely give it a try, especially if you are used to using Ruby on Rails. This will simplify development while still making the app faster and more reliable.

Elixir github.com

Would you still pick Elixir in 2019?

The dwyl team went “all-in” on Elixir back in 2016 and are often asked if they would make the same choice again. Here’s the TLDR of their answer:

The question of “Which Programming Language” is one we ask ourselves fairly regularly, and is the reason that lead us to discover and decide on using Elixir in 2016. We periodically survey the “up-and-coming” languages like Kotlin, Julia, Lua, etc. and keep concluding that our choice of Elixir is the one we would make again right now. Elixir is the “full package” from idea to deployment!

Click through for their full reasoning, which includes why they switched from Node.js to Elixir in the first place, Elixir’s pros/cons they’ve learned along the way, and a list of other languages they would choose given different use cases.

Elixir elixir-lang.org

Mint – a new HTTP client for Elixir

Mint is a new low-level HTTP client that aims to provide a small and functional core that others can build on top. Mint is connection based: each connection is a single struct with an associated socket belonging to the process that started the connection.

This looks like an excellent base layer for the Elixir community to build HTTP clients upon. Take note: The core Elixir team is so good at laying foundations like this. Plug, for example, is a near-perfect base layer for HTTP servers.

Dave Thomas pragdave.me

Small is beautiful—the Component library

Dave Thomas:

For a while now I’ve been doing my Cassandra impersonation, telling everyone who’ll listen (and quite a few folks who won’t) that we need to be writing code in smaller chunks. I know what happens when we don’t, as I was the author of one of the largest early Rails applications (65kloc), and it became a nightmare to work with.

He doesn’t want the same thing to happen in Elixirland, so he’s released Component, which is “an attempt to make it so easy to write trivial standalone servers that people will just naturally split their applications up that way.”

Chris McCord dockyard.com

An update on the progress of Phoenix.LiveView

As a reminder, LiveView is an in-development feature of the Phoenix web framework that helps you create rich, interactive experiences while writing very little (ostensibly, zero) JavaScript. In Chris’ words:

Phoenix LiveView is an exciting new library which enables rich, real-time user experiences with server-rendered HTML. LiveView powered applications are stateful on the server with bidrectional communication via WebSockets, offering a vastly simplified programming model compared to JavaScript alternatives.

In the linked post, Chris shows a lot of examples of LiveView in action, demonstrating what it’s capable of.

Here’s a feature-complete snake game, in 330 LOC, which requires zero user-land JavaScript.

Impressive!

An update on the progress of Phoenix.LiveView

German Velasco Thoughtbot

Is Elixir a scripting language?

Finally, an article that breaks Betteridge’s law of headlines!

Elixir is known for being a language made for building distributed applications that scale, are massively concurrent, and have self-healing properties. All of these adjectives paint Elixir in a grandiose light. And for good reasons! But is Elixir also a language that can be used for the more mundane tasks of this world like scripting? I think the answer is a definite yes.

I’ve been writing Elixir for a few years now, but when it comes time to script something I still reach for Ruby. Case in point, our data import routines for changelog.com (which y’all know is an Elixir app) are written in Ruby.

Why do I do this? Familiarity plays a big part. Also I find Ruby to be highly ergonomic for such tasks. Having said that, this article will make me consider trying Elixir for my next script.

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