Friday, September 26, 2008

Scripting Erlang

Today I came across an interesting post about new scripting language Reia for Erlang virtual machine. It seems that some people within the Erlang community started to realize what .NET developers always knew and Java programmers understood a few years ago: that you have to distinguish between the language and the runtime. People who were tired with Java limitations or just wanted to introduce their own ideas started to develop things like JRuby, Jython, Groovy, Scala or Clojure, just to name a few. Erlang has already developed a strong position as middleware. Now it's time to make it scriptable.

You can read more about Reia on this blog. It discusses Reia design principles and goals, as well as some controversial ideas, like introducing classes and objects or multiple variable assignment. It is true that it goes up the stream against Erlang philosophy, but I think that there is nothing inherently stupid about any idea until you can prove it wrong. This is why I don't agree with Joe Armstrong's thesis that Object Oriented programming sucks. There are programming languages that succesfully combine OO and functional paradigms (OCaml, Scala, CLOS), which prove just the opposite. It would be nice to see a modern object system in Erlang, and ALGOL based syntax could convince more people to use this excellent platform. Or, at least, possibly alleviate some already exising Erlang pains.

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