4 Reasons Elixir is the New Hotness

A look at one of the new kids on the block

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If you’ve been following the buzz in the programming language community you’ve probably heard some noise about Elixir. At Collective Idea we’re excited, and have been making good use of it. Hold on and we’ll fill you in on what all the fuss is about!

Designed for developer productivity

At its core, Elixir is a functional language. Yes, it works well, but that’s not what I mean. Here we’re talking about a programming language whose primary unit is the function, rather that the object (Object Oriented). While this does come with some challenges, it is a huge boost for developer productivity. The result will be programs that are easy to reason about, simple for new developers to grok, and easy to test. Additionally, Every Elixir application follows an identical project format. An application written by one team can be quickly understood by the next team of developers to work on. We’ve known this sort of convention to be a huge boost in the Rails community for years, and Elixir applies it to the whole ecosystem.

Built on years of technological progress

The technology needs of today’s world seem fairly new: hundreds of millions of connected devices sending data to each other and to centralized services on a nearly constant basis. Now is a time that requires unique technology to ensure that the services humans depend on are reliable and readily available. However, our current technology challenges are not as new as you may think. These same issues were also present for telecommunication companies as they worked to expand the capacity and reliability of phone switches. To address these concerns back in 1986, the Erlang programming language was born out of Ericsson labs. It’s been developed ever since and has been open source since 1998. A big strength of Elixir is that it is built on top of this tried and true technology, and continually brings unique features to the table.

Powers an awesome new web framework

Until recently, most web applications operated as a series of tiny transactions to fetch and update data. However, in our readily connected world, real-time streaming data and updates have become the norm. Frameworks like Ruby on Rails are not well-equipped to handle these sorts of load at large scale. This is where the Phoenix framework comes in. Building on the massively scalable platform of Elixir and Erlang, Phoenix provides the tools to quickly build real-time applications quickly. Think of real-time activity streams, chat rooms, streaming video and audio — this is where much of our internet technology is headed, and at a gigantic scale. This is where Phoenix shines.

It attracts top talent

With any new technology comes a decent amount of buzz. Sometimes it is unwarranted, but I believe Elixir has some real staying power. And I’m not the only one! ElixirConf, the annual Elixir user conference has seen a 500% increase in its first three years. I think developers have been searching for the next tool to help us deliver the products that our stakeholders require, and for many of us, Elixir is shaping up to be just the right solution.

Do you have any questions about Elixir? Looking for training or need help getting your first Elixir application off the ground? Why not drop us a comment below — or look for any of the six [i] people who will be at ElixirConf in Orlando Aug 31–Sept 3.

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Andrew is a senior developer who enjoys working closely with clients to make projects successful. He’s experienced in a variety of technologies through his involvement in the software industry over the past decade.