Hackernoon logoEverything You Need to Know About Using Elixir for Web Development by@usmankhalid86

Everything You Need to Know About Using Elixir for Web Development

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@usmankhalid86Usman Khalid

Research Analyst with a thirst for Technology.

"Programming isn't about what you know; it's about what you can figure out.”

While still not a superstar among programming languages, Elixir’s popularity is slowly but surely growing. Especially, when it comes to dealing with applications that generate high volumes of data, Elixir development is a lifesaver among the developer’s den.

What is Elixirlang?

It is powered by Erlang, a programming language developed by Ericsson to enhance its telecommunications, and it proved quite beneficial for the telecom giant. However, Erlang still did not make it to the list of best programming languages due to the unfamiliarity of its Syntax compared to other players like Ruby, Java, or Python. 

One Ruby developer (José Valim), however, saw the potential and created a new programming language, Elixir. It had all the battle-tested characteristics of Erlang, coupled with modern-looking Syntax similar to Ruby. Elixir development is highly fault-tolerant and allows for high-concurrency & low-latency levels.

Benefits of Elixir Development

A Unique Language

As discussed above, Elixir language is based on Beam (Erlang VM), which has been implemented by tech giants like WhatsApp, Ericsson, and IBM. The José Valim creation comes with power-packed features such as Pipe-operator and helps in scaling up the software. It is also:

Similar to Ruby

Elixir language is robust, fault-tolerant, and a performance champ. Ruby, on the other hand, is easy to comprehend and concise. Elixir combines the two winning attributes, resulting in a language that is the best of both worlds and aids in custom software development.

Dynamic

In comparison with a few other functional languages, Elixir development allows for dynamic typing. Simply put, Elixirlang scrutinizes the types while the program is running and not during compilation. This unique characteristic helps in speeding up the web and app development process.

Concurrent & Low-latency programming

If you are forecasting high-traffic to your website or application in the future, opting for Elixir development is a good idea. Process-oriented Elixir has the ability to manage hundreds of thousands of users and the related processes simultaneously. 

It was developed to handle such concurrencies and since its inception, Elixirlang has assisted the software development efforts of big tech giants such as Pinterest. The king of visual search engines saw a notable improvement in their application after switching to Elixir. It helped them manage over 200 million pinners more efficiently since the conversion from Java.

Scalability

Based on Erlang’s processing model, Elixir's development makes the execution of applications on multiple communication nodes easier. This is highly beneficial for large-scale website and mobile application development projects such as WhatsApp, which manages over 2 billion users and their messages efficiently.

Elixir Phoenix combo

Just like Rails is to Ruby, Phoenix is to Elixir. The combination of one of the best frameworks, Phoenix, and fault-tolerant & reliable Elixirlang, assists in managing the servers in real-time, while the client end is processed via Javascript.

And don’t worry if you are looking to hire Elixir developers for your business. The Elixir Phoenix combo is easy to learn for developers who are familiar with the Rails framework.

The increasing Elixir popularity over the years is also depicted in a Stack Overflow study, which states that Elixir development jobs raked in a respectable 3rd position on the list of best-paying programming languages. To develop successful web applications like WhatsApp, Pinterest, and Moz, you need to think outside the box. Do not choose programming languages on the basis of mere popularity or market share, opt for an approach that complements your business needs.

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