There was a week without updates as I went to the Barcelona to attent Elixir Conf Eu – and afterwards made a short vacation. This time I won’t be as specific as I was with ErlangFactoryLite; it was way bigger conference and I didn’t get to see all talks as well. Truth be told – but it’s a problem with any bigger conference – overall level of talks was lower than EFL’s ones – but it’s inevitable. Organisation was really good, as the venue.
I have some stuff to share, less now, more later when I deep dive into them.
First, there’s something called QuickCheck. It’s enables to do Property Testing – I’m not feeling comfortable enough with my knowledge of this subject to try explaning it, but I’m looking forward getting to know it more and write about it here!
Nerves strikes again, as this time distributed computing on Rasps was shown. It’s nice to see that this project grows. And also: nice project to get started: make temperature controller for beer fermentation (old fridge, old lightbulb for hear and rasp pi running nerves)!
Hello for the second (and last) part of EFL Rome2017 post! You can find previous one here
Music and Message Passing Concurrency by Joe Armstrong
Here goes the big name, Joe himself. While it may suggest a lot about music, it was more about messaging and integration. Joe showed how he could remotely control Sonic Pi. He was glad that there’s an other way to control a program “than clicking a bloody mouse!”.
He did that sending properly coded messages to UDP port. And here it all started. Joe is a big supporter of messaging based communication. API suposes a programming language, so it’s not a best way – you’re tied to programming language. As the main topic emerged once again – how to integrate and there are some programming languages better to do other things – so you’d naturally like to use them for specific purposes and not be stuck with one.
You should also treat specific parts/modules/apps like a black boxes – you know nothing (even the language used) except for how to communicate (using messages, of course 😉 ) – “the protocol only matters.”
Pick transport (TCP/UDP)
Pick encoding (XML/JSON/YAML/etc)
Pick protocol description (RFC/UBF/etc)
Joe picked OSC over TCP/UPD with some English to describe it. OSC is a very simple encoding – and it has “simplicity by design”, as Joe said, “if you can’t create complex data structures, the interface will be simple and easy to understand”.
“if you can’t create complex data structures, the interface will be simple and easy to understand”
Which is another way worth remebering. Complicated systems are easy – you just keep adding stuff. Simple systems are difficult to make.
I think thou – if one thing should be remembered from this talk it’s fact, that we should be able to understand the system by looking on the messages going in and out.
Adopting Elixir in a 10 Year Old Codebase by Michael Klishin
While it seems like adding Elixir to some Ruby ecosystem, it was actually using Elixir in Erlang project. They did a CLI tool in Elixir as a “check” with ~8k LOC, ~750 tests and 70 CL commands available.
I will just point out good:
It’s more approachable than Erlang
It’s a recriutment honeypot – easier to lure people into project
Has decent standard lib
Potentian contributors could have not contributed if it was in Erlang
And bad things he learned:
Integration with Erlang.mk is a pain
Elixir/Erlang data type mismatches
String vs Binary
Some Elixir libs are a one man show ( 😉 )
Overall Michael feels like Elixir was worth adopting as sees a bright future for it – and you can utilize it even without agents, macros and sweet libs. He was even more optimistic for Elixir than for Erlang itself.
A Little Replica of the Internet in Elixir by Ju Liu
He describes himself as a Mad Scientist – and, boy, he is!
Basically it was a little trivia on the Internet and his attempt to do a small replica of it’s routing system using Elixir (and nerves). He had 2 RP3s connected, simulating North America and Europe with routing links. There’s a bit of how the Internet works and how it connects – he used that common knowledge to simulate it and it worked like a charm. There a code online if you want to look at it!
The real show started when he took the router, connected third Rasp and added Asia – it all worked! It was a nice show for the Nerves project to show what you can do with them. Funny thing – the most problems, and the slowest part was HTML+JS frontend where all the arrows where hacked as separate CSS elements – so it crashed when connection number rose. Still, great project and you can look at it on github!
Embrace the Database with Ecto by Josh Branchaud
Basically it was how to use the Ecto and how to query the database. I really don’t know if it was the high temperature in the room, or it was just quite obvious to me – but I cannot say that I didn’t find anything at all – there was one statement that I won’t say if I find true or false – because it’s strengh is that it provokes some interesting conversations:
“The database should be the ultimate gatekeeper – it should validate the data coming in”
Monitoring and Pre-emptive support: The road to five nines on the Beam by Francesco Cesarini
It was a great talk with a lot of focusing on “no single point of failure” “we need at least 2 of everything”. He showed 2 types of monitoring usefulness – you can prevent failures, or do quick post-mortems. With monitoring you can prove your innocence in 1.5 minutes – without trying to replicate the bug and trying to debug. While there’s a lot to be said – he said so many cool stories I guess you have to go and give it a listen yourself – this one seems almost identical.
And this was it – it was a great experience and possibility to talk with those people was sometimes eye-opening.
Week ago I went to Rome to take part in Erlang Factory Lite, and, as promised, here is blogpost about it (the first part)
Starting with venue – it was near the centre of the city, easy to get with decent views. While inside was quite small (not a lot of people were there as well), the outside…
Sadly, there were no recordings, but from what I saw speakers had the same talks as in some future (and maybe past?) events, so not all is lost.
Pilgrim’s Progress to the Promised Land by Robert Virding
Opening talk by Erlang co-creator. It was a nice opening, showing learning Elixir as a pilgrimage. And it’s quite good analogy. You begin your journey influenced by some prophets. It’s important to validate their words – to decide if Elixir is the right tool for your job. Also the way of learning it is a bit like arriving to different interesting places.
Because of it’s similarity to Ruby you quickly arrive to “Village of Confusion” as things don’t seem to work they should. It’s not an OO language (Joe had different opinion here 😉 Erlang is the only OO language ).
Robert told us that people doing Erlang/Elixir are not scared of crashing things. And there are 3 ways of crashing things:
Crash and clean – for example process holding database connection won’t close it if it dies
Crash and restart – if process is critical to the system
Because of all this talking about crashing, you do a lot of upfront error handling – so you have it localized and easy.
“You have to accept that things go wrong it you want to build fault-tolerant systems” – Robert
Stepping into a new era: injecting Elixir in a Ruby app by Andrea Leopardi
This was the talk about replacing some parts of the existing Ruby + Python system with Elixir (and adding new ones with Elixir). This was quite full of examples (like issues going down significantly and performance going up), but I think that the most important thing is:
Prepare your system: Split it into services first, or at least one monolith service and one small (it’s a good start).
It’s the Type Theory Baby! by Michele Finelli
This was talk full with nice theory. Michele defined a formula something that is always true or false. If you depend on external (I/O, DB, etc) logical formulas are no longer eternal – so this describes functional programming.
Cook your distributed in memory KV store by Gianluca Padovani
Basically a explanation how Riak Core works with concrete idea to implement. It was with some demos how to make a distributed KV store. And it worked like charm 😉 I guess reading throu the code of this masterless cluster (nice idea btw) will be better than me describing it, but there one important quote
I’ve covered 5 out of 9 talks, so there’s still material for next part, stay tuned!