Garrett Smith

AI Hacker

Building a web app in Erlang, that's Right Erlang! (Not Elixir)

"Erlang is not good for building web applications." You've heard that right? Because Erlang is terrible for string processing. It doesn't have Ruby on Rails. It has Phoenix. Well, Elixir has Phoenix. Erlang is only good for telco switches. Maybe a distributed key value store. When it comes to Web apps - use Ruby, or if you're going to deploy your application, use Elixir.

In this talk, Garrett will build a web app in Erlang, not Elixir. He'll show that unmodified plain old Erlang not only can be used for web application development, it's great. Really great. You'll switch. You'll tell your friends and they'll switch.

This talk is inspired by a presentation that Ian Bicking gave years ago entited "Building a Web Framework from Scratch". The idea is that web apps can be built without monolithic frameworks, starting with nothing and gradually adding functionality using abstractions that closely mirror the Web's underlying protocols. While the content is Erlang, the lessons for web application development apply generally.


Garrett was a software engineer at CloudBees and is responsible for building scalable, er, that is, awesome software! At CloudBees Garrett led the development of the RUN platform-as-a-service that provided reliable, performant application hosting to tens of thousands of customers, which in turn served tens of millions of end-users!

Garrett's weapon of choice for the development of awesome software is Erlang - a highly concurrent functional programming language that use used by companies like Facebook, WhatsApp and Machine Zone to build the world's largest messaging systems. Garrett is an international speaker and instructor. He organizes the Chicago Erlang User Group which sponsors Chicago Erlang - an annual Erlang conference in the heart of the US. He is the author of several Erlang projects including e2, Psycho, and LambdaPad. He is the creator of the satirical videos MongoDB Is Web Scale, Node.js Is Bad Ass Rock Star Tech, and Erlang The Movie II, The Sequel.

Garrett maintains his blog here.

Twitter: @gar1t
Github: gar1t