Erlang is, in fact, a stealth achiever. It’s an odd language that may not be widely used, but it’s a useful resource to have on hand when a situation calls for an unconventional response.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re new to Erlang.

The majority of people don’t even notice Erlang when it crosses their radar. One of the most popular programming languages that you’ve probably never ever heard of is probably this one.

No matter how good it is, no programming language is really helpful on its own. But Erlang is a little unique. You can turn this programming language into a virtual machine as powerful as an operating system by combining it with a runtime environment that is highly optimized and some middleware to handle scalability and reliability. It also comes with a set of middleware libraries that address many of the annoying issues associated with scaling up while maintaining system reliability. Whenever you look at who is using Erlang, you’ll see why you need to be aware of it.

Who used Erlang first?

Who is using Erlang is the major question, though? The answer might surprise you.

Cisco, Ericsson, Klarna, Goldman Sachs, T-Mobile, and Amazon used to keep a small secret. Erlang was a little-known computer language that turned out to be excellent at managing enormous infrastructure, such as expansive mobile phone networks.

A little secret that was poorly kept: Erlang was formerly used to modulate and demodulate 90% of the internet traffic that passed daily through routers and switchboards. Starting with GPRS, moving on to 3G, 4G, and finally 5G, Erlang has been used continuously.

WeChat and WhatsApp? Given its track record with communications software, running on an Erlang core. Due to its versatility, open-source Erlang has found a new home in blockchain and cryptocurrency mining frameworks.

Do you enjoy Super Mario? In order to handle the millions of concurrent connections from users online at any given time, Nintendo has sold over 34 million Switch devices so far. These consoles rely on an Erlang-based messaging system. Imagine playing games online. To handle the over 10 million League of Legends players that are all online at once, Riot Games employs Erlang.


What Is Erlang?

As you might have guessed, Erlang is a functional, comparatively general programming language that encourages the development of concurrent, scalable systems that can scale up and provide high availability as user demand surges, all without the system being at risk of crashing.

It’s not like Erlang is brand-new or something; it was really developed in the latter part of the 1980s at Ericsson to manage their telephone switchboards. Back then, a telephone switchboard was a sophisticated system, similar to what the internet is to us now.

Erlang’s focus on processes is what distinguishes it most from other programming languages. It consists of a number of separate, memory-indifferent processes that communicate with one another via messages. Receiving and processing these messages results in the generation of new messages, the transmission of the messages to other messages, or the modification of a message’s state.

The system expands easily vertically by increasing the resources on each computer or horizontally by adding more machines to the network. Similar to Scala and Haskell, it is a functional language that frequently uses pure functions, higher-order functions, and pattern matching.