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Animals Matter to Me

A personal programming goal for 2009

I have started looking into Erlang recently. I have been intrigued enough that I am going to make learning Erlang and producing something useful with it my first personal programming goal of 2009.

To help me do so I am starting with the Programming Erlang book from Pragmatic Bookshelf and also the first three parts in their Erlang in Practice set of screencasts.

I find Erlang interesting because of some very obvious similarities to Prolog. This is not really surprising since Prolog is a part of Erlang’s history; the first implementation of Erlang was in Prolog. The fact that I use Prolog regularly has let me skim through some of the things that the Erlang tutorials and books seem to spend time saying “now I know this isn’t like other languages you use” but for a Prolog programmer, many of these things aren’t surprising anymore.

Another intriguing thing about Erlang is that which differentiates it from Prolog. For me that is the focus on networking and multiple processes. These are things which, while doable, were not common things to do in Prolog programming.

Since it is early going in this process I have more questions than answers at this point. I am curious what parts of Prolog I am not going to have in Erlang which I am going to really miss or maybe even having a hard time functioning without.

While I am sure the Erlang community is still small, as is the Prolog community, at least it will be more active right now (I hope!). I have a Google blog search on “prolog” and to call the rate of new posts a ‘trickle’ would be optimistic.

As I work on my goal I’ll write more about my Erlang experiences and how a Prolog programming perspective helps or hinders the learning process.


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