Chapter 1. Introduction

This chapter covers

  • What Elixir is
  • How Elixir is different from Erlang
  • Why Elixir is a good choice
  • What Elixir/OTP is good for
  • The road ahead

Just in case you bought this book for medicinal purposes—I’m sorry, wrong book. This book is about Elixir the programming language. No other language (other than Ruby) has made me so excited and happy to work with it. Even after spending more than two years of my life writing about Elixir, I still love programming in it. There’s something special about being involved in a community that’s so young and lively. I don’t think any language has had at least four books written about it, a dedicated screencast series, and a conference—all before v1.0. I think we’re on to something here.

Before I begin discussing Elixir, I want to talk about Erlang and its legendary virtual machine (VM), because Elixir is built on top of it. Erlang is a programming language that excels in building soft real-time, distributed, and concurrent systems. Its original use case was to program Ericsson’s telephone switches. (Telephone switches are basically machines that connect calls between callers.)

1.1. Elixir

1.2. How is Elixir different from Erlang?

1.3. Why Elixir and not X?

1.4. What is Elixir/OTP good for?

1.5. The road ahead

1.6. Summary