How to Set Up A Basic Erlang Project?

13 minutes read

Setting up a basic Erlang project involves a few steps:

  1. Install Erlang: Begin by installing the Erlang programming language on your system. Visit the official Erlang website and download the appropriate installer for your operating system. Follow the installation instructions to complete the setup.
  2. Create a Project Directory: Create a new directory to hold your Erlang project. This directory will serve as the root directory for your project.
  3. Structure your Project: Within the project directory, it is common practice to create a few subdirectories to organize your code. Some commonly used directories include src for source files, include for header files, test for test files, and ebin to store compiled beam files.
  4. Write Code: Start writing your Erlang code in the src directory. Erlang code files have the file extension .erl. You can use any text editor or an Erlang-aware IDE to write your code.
  5. Compile Code: Compile your Erlang code into bytecode using the Erlang compiler. Open a terminal or command prompt, navigate to your project directory, and run the Erlang compiler command, erlc, followed by the name of your source file. This will generate a corresponding .beam file in the ebin directory.
  6. Run your application: You can now run your compiled Erlang code. Launch an Erlang shell by opening a terminal or command prompt, navigating to your project directory, and running the command erl. Within the Erlang shell, load your compiled modules using the c(ModuleName) command, where ModuleName is the name of the module containing your entry point.
  7. Test Your Code: If you have written tests for your Erlang project, place them in the test directory. You can execute tests using a tool like EUnit, which is an Erlang unit testing framework.
  8. Document Your Code: Erlang has a built-in documentation generator called EDoc. Add appropriate documentation comments to your code and generate documentation using the edoc command.

Remember that the structure and setup of your Erlang project can vary depending on your specific requirements and conventions. However, these steps will help you set up a basic Erlang project that you can build upon as you continue your development journey.

Best Erlang Books to Read in 2024

Handbook of Neuroevolution Through Erlang

Rating is 5 out of 5

Handbook of Neuroevolution Through Erlang

Designing for Scalability with Erlang/OTP: Implement Robust, Fault-Tolerant Systems

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Designing for Scalability with Erlang/OTP: Implement Robust, Fault-Tolerant Systems

Learn You Some Erlang for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

Learn You Some Erlang for Great Good!: A Beginner's Guide

Erlang Programming: A Concurrent Approach to Software Development

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Erlang Programming: A Concurrent Approach to Software Development

Introducing Erlang: Getting Started in Functional Programming

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Introducing Erlang: Getting Started in Functional Programming

Erlang and OTP in Action

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

Erlang and OTP in Action

Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World

Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World (Pragmatic Programmers)

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

Programming Erlang: Software for a Concurrent World (Pragmatic Programmers)

How to handle errors in Erlang?

In Erlang, you can handle errors using try-catch statements or by using supervisors to manage processes.

Here are some approaches for error handling in Erlang:

  1. Try-Catch: You can use a try-catch statement to catch specific exceptions and handle them accordingly. The syntax is as follows:
    % Code that might throw an exception
    Type:Reason ->
        % Error handling code

The catch block is executed when an exception of type Type is thrown with Reason. You can use pattern matching in the catch block to handle different types of errors separately.

  1. Error Returns: In Erlang, it's common to use error tuples to indicate a failure. You can return {ok, Result} for successful operations and {error, Reason} for failures.
{ok, Result} = my_module:do_something(),
% Handle success with Result

{error, Reason} = my_module:do_something_else(),
% Handle error with Reason

  1. Supervisors: Erlang's Supervision trees help manage the state of processes and handle failures. By organizing processes hierarchically, supervisors can restart, terminate, or ignore child processes based on predefined strategies.

You can define a supervisor behavior using the supervisor module, which provides functions like start_link/2 and child_spec/1 to create and manage processes.

These are some of the common approaches used in Erlang for error handling. The choice depends on the specific use case and requirements of your application.

How to work with lists in Erlang?

In Erlang, lists are a fundamental data type and can be easily manipulated using various built-in functions and operators. Here are some common operations for working with lists in Erlang:

  1. Creating Lists: [1, 2, 3]: Creates a list with elements 1, 2, and 3. Lists = [1, 2, 3]: Assigns the list [1, 2, 3] to the variable Lists.
  2. Accessing Elements: hd(List): Returns the head (first element) of the list. tl(List): Returns the tail (all elements except the head) of the list. List !! Index: Returns the element at the specified index (0-based).
  3. Concatenating Lists: List1 ++ List2: Concatenates List1 and List2.
  4. Checking List Membership: lists:member(Element, List): Checks if a specific element exists in the list.
  5. Getting List Length: length(List): Returns the number of elements in the list.
  6. Transforming a List: lists:map(Function, List): Applies a function to each element of the list and returns a new list with the results.
  7. Filtering a List: lists:filter(Function, List): Applies a filtering function to each element of the list and returns a new list with the elements that satisfy the condition.
  8. List Comprehensions: [Expression || Pattern <- List, Condition]: Generates a new list by applying an expression to each element in the list that satisfies a given pattern and condition.
  9. Recursive List Processing: Pattern matching and recursion are commonly used to process lists in Erlang. For example, you can define a recursive function to process each element of a list and combine the results.
  10. List Manipulation Functions: lists:reverse(List): Reverses the order of elements in the list. lists:nth(Index, List): Returns the element at the specified index (1-based). lists:zip(List1, List2): Zips two lists into a list of tuples.

These are just a few of the operations provided by the Erlang language for working with lists. Erlang provides many more functions and operators for working with lists efficiently.

What is the purpose of guards in Erlang and how to use them?

The purpose of guards in Erlang is to filter patterns in function clauses. Guards allow conditional execution of function clauses based on specific conditions.

Guards are used by appending them to function clauses. They make it possible to match specific patterns only when certain conditions are met. The syntax for a guard expression is a comma-separated list of guard sequence expressions enclosed in parentheses following a pattern in the function clause.

Here is an example of a simple Erlang function clause that uses guards:

my_function(X) when X > 0 -> io:format("Positive number~n"); my_function(X) when X < 0 -> io:format("Negative number~n"); my_function(X) -> io:format("Zero~n").

In this example, the function "my_function" takes an argument X. The first function clause matches when X is greater than 0, and it prints "Positive number". The second clause matches when X is less than 0 and it outputs "Negative number". The final clause is a catch-all clause that matches for any other input and outputs "Zero".

Guards are not limited to simple comparisons, but can also include more complex Boolean expressions, type checks, function calls, and more. Some common guard tests include comparisons (>, <, ==), boolean operators (and, or, not), type checks (is_integer, is_atom), and checking list length (length).

Using guards allows for more flexible pattern matching and helps to write more concise and expressive Erlang code.

What tools and libraries are commonly used in Erlang project development?

There are several tools and libraries that are commonly used in Erlang project development. Some of the most popular ones include:

  1. OTP (Open Telecom Platform): OTP is a set of libraries, design principles, and best practices for building robust and scalable Erlang applications. It provides a framework for building fault-tolerant, distributed, and concurrent systems.
  2. rebar3: rebar3 is a build tool for Erlang projects. It manages dependencies, compiles code, runs tests, and generates release artifacts. It simplifies the project setup and makes it easy to manage the build process.
  3. Cowboy: Cowboy is a small, fast, and flexible HTTP server framework for Erlang. It allows developers to build web applications and RESTful APIs with ease. Cowboy is known for its high-performance and low resource consumption.
  4. Elixir: Elixir is a dynamic, functional language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine (BEAM). It provides a more modern and developer-friendly syntax compared to Erlang. Elixir is often used in conjunction with Erlang, and many libraries and frameworks are available for both languages.
  5. RabbitMQ: RabbitMQ is a popular message broker that allows for asynchronous and distributed communication between different components of an application. It integrates well with Erlang and provides reliable and scalable messaging capabilities.
  6. Dialyzer: Dialyzer is a static analysis tool for Erlang that performs type checking and detects common programming errors, such as type mismatches, unreachable code, and unused variables. It helps improve code quality and reduce bugs.
  7. EUnit: EUnit is a lightweight unit testing framework for Erlang. It provides a simple and intuitive way to write and run tests for individual functions and modules. EUnit is widely used in the Erlang community for test-driven development.
  8. Mnesia: Mnesia is a distributed, real-time database management system built on top of Erlang. It provides built-in support for high-availability, replication, and distributed transactions. Mnesia is commonly used for storing and retrieving data in Erlang applications.

These are just a few examples of the tools and libraries commonly used in Erlang project development. The Erlang ecosystem is rich and diverse, with many other options available for specific use cases and requirements.

How to send and receive messages between processes in Erlang?

In Erlang, you can send and receive messages between processes using the built-in message passing mechanism. Here's how you can do it:

Sending a message:

  1. Create a new process using spawn/1 or spawn/3 function.
  2. Use the ! operator or erlang:send/2 function to send a message to the process. Example: Pid ! Message or erlang:send(Pid, Message). Note that Pid is the process identifier of the receiving process, and Message can be any Erlang term.

Receiving a message:

  1. Use the receive construct to wait for and handle incoming messages. Example: receive Message -> ... end. Note that you can pattern-match on the received message to determine the behavior of the process.

Here's an example that demonstrates sending and receiving messages between two processes:

% Process 1
proc1() ->
    {from, SenderPid, Msg} ->
      io:format("Process 2 sent: ~p~n", [Msg]),
      SenderPid ! {self(), "Hello, Process 2!"}

% Process 2
proc2() ->
  Pid = spawn(fun proc1/0),
  Pid ! {from, self(), "Hello, Process 1!"},
    {From, Reply} ->
      io:format("Process 1 replied: ~p~n", [Reply]),
      From ! {self(), "Goodbye, Process 1!"}

% Example usage
start() ->
  spawn(fun proc2/0).

In this example, proc2 spawns a new process (proc1), sends it a message, waits for a reply, and then sends another message back. The processes communicate with each other using message passing.

To run the example, call start() in the Erlang shell. You should see the messages exchanged between the two processes.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Telegram Whatsapp Pocket

Related Posts:

To create Erlang views in CouchDB, you need to perform the following steps:Install Erlang: Erlang is a programming language that is commonly used to create CouchDB views. You need to install the Erlang runtime environment on your system before you can create E...
To install Erlang Observer on a Mac, you can follow these steps:The first step is to download and install Erlang. You can visit the official Erlang website ( and download the latest stable version for Mac. Once Erlang is instal...
Pattern matching is a fundamental concept in Erlang, allowing developers to match and manipulate values in a concise and powerful way. Here&#39;s a brief explanation of pattern matching in Erlang:Basic Syntax: In Erlang, pattern matching is performed using the...