loop(0) -> ok; loop(Count) -> loop(Count - 1).
My first Erlang engagement was brief and fierce. I still remember shaking my head with “How do I do a loop” and “it’s better than a Makefile”.
I did not consider that affair serious, but was surely intrigued. And I was absolutely stunned to find out that WhatsApp, that I just joined in 2016, adopted Erlang as the primary language, and OTP for runtime, to run the largest messaging platform in the world.
It took me a couple of years to build confidence – I understood Erlang/OTP deep enough to make improvements. At the same time I realised how hard it was to find and collect knowledge bit by bit. There were only a handful of books and some blog posts on Erlang Solutions website. No community-endorsed guidelines, no coding style debates, just a few scattered blog posts here and there.
After making the same explanation – or debugging exercise – over and over, I decided to have that knowledge written down and stored for future reference. That’s how I created a series of internal wiki pages, collected under the “Erlang Workshop” title, and a lot of other content. But the company moves very fast, and in just a few months and several reorgs these documents were hardly discoverable. And I started looking for a better medium.
One idea was to introduce WhatsApp engineering blog (which we eventually did), but Erlang deep-dive posts won’t fit the narrative. Then I considered Erlang Ecosystem Foundation website, but found that I have to create the blog application first, before starting with content.
Several years passed, and I still didn’t have a web page to dump my absolutely brilliant posts to. One cold morning, pedaling up Mt. Umunhum, I remembered it only took me just a couple of days to build the original erlef.org site. We actually spent just as much time in discussions what would be the right domain name for it. Quick ride down, lightning-fast check… unbelievable, but max-au.com was mine to register.
So… hi, I’m Maxim. Or, just Max, the one that loves Australia. I’m going to talk about random things I found interesting on my Erlang Journey.