Elixir vs Haskell

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Elixir vs Haskell: What are the differences?

Introduction: Elixir and Haskell are both functional programming languages that have gained popularity among developers. While they have some similarities, they also have key differences that set them apart from each other. In this article, we will explore six important differences between Elixir and Haskell.

  1. Type Systems: Elixir uses a dynamic typing system, meaning that types are checked at runtime. This allows for more flexibility and easier prototyping, but it can also result in runtime errors if types are mismatched. Haskell, on the other hand, uses a static typing system, where types are checked at compile-time. This provides stronger type safety, catching potential errors before runtime.

  2. Concurrency and Parallelism: Concurrency and parallelism are handled differently in Elixir and Haskell. Elixir has built-in support for lightweight processes called "actors" through its concurrent programming model called the "Erlang Actor Model." This makes it easy to write highly concurrent and fault-tolerant applications. Haskell, on the other hand, uses software transactional memory (STM) and lazy evaluation to handle parallelism. This allows for easy composition of parallel programs and efficient utilization of multicore processors.

  3. Syntax: Elixir has a Ruby-inspired syntax that aims for readability and developer happiness. It uses a more familiar syntax with an emphasis on human-friendly code. On the other hand, Haskell has a more mathematically-focused syntax that can be seen as more expressive but also more challenging for newcomers. Haskell's syntax is based on lambda calculus, which gives it a unique flavor.

  4. Pattern Matching: Pattern matching is a powerful feature in both Elixir and Haskell, but they differ in their approach. In Elixir, pattern matching is used extensively to destructure data structures and match multiple cases. It allows for concise and elegant code. Haskell also supports pattern matching, but it is more static and type-driven. It ensures exhaustiveness and correctness by requiring all cases to be covered.

  5. Tooling and Libraries: Both Elixir and Haskell have vibrant ecosystems with a wide range of libraries and tools. However, Elixir's ecosystem is more focused on building web applications and has better tooling for web development. It has frameworks like Phoenix that make it easy to build scalable and fault-tolerant web applications. Haskell, on the other hand, has a strong focus on functional programming and provides libraries for various domains like parsing, concurrency, and theorem proving.

  6. Interoperability: Elixir and Haskell have different levels of interoperability with other languages. Elixir runs on the Erlang virtual machine (BEAM), which allows for seamless interoperability with other languages that run on the BEAM, such as Erlang and LFE (Lisp Flavored Erlang). Haskell, on the other hand, can interface with other languages through tools like FFI (Foreign Function Interface), which enables interoperability with C and other languages.

In summary, Elixir and Haskell differ in their type systems, concurrency models, syntax, pattern matching approaches, tooling, and interoperability. Elixir provides a more dynamic and flexible programming experience with a focus on web development, while Haskell offers strong static typing and a mathematical approach to programming with a focus on functional purity and parallelism.

Decisions about Elixir and Haskell

#rust #elixir So am creating a messenger with voice call capabilities app which the user signs up using phone number and so at first i wanted to use Actix so i learned Rust so i thought to myself because well its first i felt its a bit immature to use actix web even though some companies are using Rust but we cant really say the full potential of Rust in a full scale app for example in Discord both Elixir and Rust are used meaning there is equal need for them but for Elixir so many companies use it from Whatsapp, Wechat, etc and this means something for Rust is not ready to go full scale we cant assume all this possibilities when it come Rust. So i decided to go the Erlang way after alot of Thinking so Do you think i made the right decision?Am 19 year programmer so i assume am not experienced as you so your answer or comment would really valuable to me

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Timm Stelzer
VP Of Engineering at Flexperto GmbH · | 18 upvotes · 618.7K views

We have a lot of experience in JavaScript, writing our services in NodeJS allows developers to transition to the back end without any friction, without having to learn a new language. There is also the option to write services in TypeScript, which adds an expressive type layer. The semi-shared ecosystem between front and back end is nice as well, though specifically NodeJS libraries sometimes suffer in quality, compared to other major languages.

As for why we didn't pick the other languages, most of it comes down to "personal preference" and historically grown code bases, but let's do some post-hoc deduction:

Go is a practical choice, reasonably easy to learn, but until we find performance issues with our NodeJS stack, there is simply no reason to switch. The benefits of using NodeJS so far outweigh those of picking Go. This might change in the future.

PHP is a language we're still using in big parts of our system, and are still sometimes writing new code in. Modern PHP has fixed some of its issues, and probably has the fastest development cycle time, but it suffers around modelling complex asynchronous tasks, and (on a personal note) lack of support for writing in a functional style.

We don't use Python, Elixir or Ruby, mostly because of personal preference and for historic reasons.

Rust, though I personally love and use it in my projects, would require us to specifically hire for that, as the learning curve is quite steep. Its web ecosystem is OK by now (see https://www.arewewebyet.org/), but in my opinion, it is still no where near that of the other web languages. In other words, we are not willing to pay the price for playing this innovation card.

Haskell, as with Rust, I personally adore, but is simply too esoteric for us. There are problem domains where it shines, ours is not one of them.

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Pros of Elixir
Pros of Haskell
  • 172
  • 161
  • 133
    Erlang vm
  • 112
    Great documentation
  • 105
    Great tooling
  • 86
    Immutable data structures
  • 81
    Open source
  • 77
  • 62
    Easy to get started
  • 59
    Actor library
  • 32
    Functional with a neat syntax
  • 29
    Ruby inspired
  • 25
    Erlang evolved
  • 24
  • 22
    Beauty of Ruby, Speed of Erlang/C
  • 17
    Fault Tolerant
  • 14
  • 13
    High Performance
  • 11
    Pipe Operator
  • 11
    Good lang
  • 11
    Doc as first class citizen
  • 9
    Fun to write
  • 9
    Stinkin' fast, no memory leaks, easy on the eyes
  • 8
    Resilient to failure
  • 8
  • 6
    GenServer takes the guesswork out of background work
  • 4
  • 4
    Pattern matching
  • 4
    Not Swift
  • 4
    Fast, Concurrent with clean error messages
  • 3
    Easy to use
  • 2
    Error isolation
  • 2
    Dynamic Typing
  • 90
    Purely-functional programming
  • 66
    Statically typed
  • 59
  • 39
    Open source
  • 38
    Great community
  • 31
    Built-in concurrency
  • 30
    Built-in parallelism
  • 30
  • 24
    Referentially transparent
  • 20
  • 15
    Type inference
  • 15
    Intellectual satisfaction
  • 12
    If it compiles, it's correct
  • 8
  • 8
  • 5
    Great type system
  • 4
    Proposition testing with QuickCheck
  • 4
    One of the most powerful languages *(see blub paradox)*
  • 4
    Purely-functional Programming
  • 3
    Highly expressive, type-safe, fast development time
  • 3
    Pattern matching and completeness checking
  • 3
    Great maintainability of the code
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
    Best in class thinking tool
  • 2
    Kind system
  • 2
    Better type-safe than sorry
  • 2
    Type classes
  • 1
  • 1

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Cons of Elixir
Cons of Haskell
  • 11
    Fewer jobs for Elixir experts
  • 7
    Smaller userbase than other mainstream languages
  • 5
    Elixir's dot notation less readable ("object": 1st arg)
  • 4
    Dynamic typing
  • 1
    Difficult to understand
  • 1
    Not a lot of learning books available
  • 9
    Too much distraction in language extensions
  • 8
    Error messages can be very confusing
  • 5
    Libraries have poor documentation
  • 3
    No good ABI
  • 3
    No best practices
  • 2
    Poor packaging for apps written in it for Linux distros
  • 2
    Sometimes performance is unpredictable
  • 1
    Slow compilation
  • 1
    Monads are hard to understand

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What is Elixir?

Elixir leverages the Erlang VM, known for running low-latency, distributed and fault-tolerant systems, while also being successfully used in web development and the embedded software domain.

What is Haskell?

It is a general purpose language that can be used in any domain and use case, it is ideally suited for proprietary business logic and data analysis, fast prototyping and enhancing existing software environments with correct code, performance and scalability.

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Oct 24 2019 at 7:43PM


What are some alternatives to Elixir and Haskell?
Go is expressive, concise, clean, and efficient. Its concurrency mechanisms make it easy to write programs that get the most out of multicore and networked machines, while its novel type system enables flexible and modular program construction. Go compiles quickly to machine code yet has the convenience of garbage collection and the power of run-time reflection. It's a fast, statically typed, compiled language that feels like a dynamically typed, interpreted language.
Some of Erlang's uses are in telecoms, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging. Erlang's runtime system has built-in support for concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. OTP is set of Erlang libraries and design principles providing middle-ware to develop these systems.
Clojure is designed to be a general-purpose language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Clojure is a compiled language - it compiles directly to JVM bytecode, yet remains completely dynamic. Clojure is a dialect of Lisp, and shares with Lisp the code-as-data philosophy and a powerful macro system.
Ruby is a language of careful balance. Its creator, Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, blended parts of his favorite languages (Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp) to form a new language that balanced functional programming with imperative programming.
Rust is a systems programming language that combines strong compile-time correctness guarantees with fast performance. It improves upon the ideas of other systems languages like C++ by providing guaranteed memory safety (no crashes, no data races) and complete control over the lifecycle of memory.
See all alternatives