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Introduction

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Erlang is a general purpose functional programming language. If it's the first functional programming language you're going to learn then you should read this article first to get the idea of functional programming in the first place.

We won't go in some boring academical way where you learn every aspect of the language in details. Learn all about functions, lists, tuples, pattern matching... Ugh! Instead, we will implement some funny program and add new features there as we learn them.

Still, some facts should be given before continue. In Erlang:

  • You start variable name with an uppercase letter;
  • You start everything else's name with a lowercase letter;
  • You have dynamic type system;
  • Mostly you write functions;
  • Function return value is the last statement of that function.

You'll see some features without an explanation within the same lesson. Don't worry — everything will be explained in time.

Windows

To install Erlang compiler on Windows just use installer from this page: https://www.erlang.org/downloads

Unix/Linux

For those plafroms it's a bit tricky — you have to build it from sources. Here is complete manual how to do that: https://erlang.org/doc/installation_guide/INSTALL.html

Allright, let's take a look at the most simple Erlang program now.

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Learning plan

1. Introduction
What is Erlang anyway?
The most simple Erlang program to start with
How you write loops in Erlang and other functional programming languages
What is Erlang process and how to spawn it