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More Languages on top of Erlang Virtual Machine

by Sadek Drobi on Oct 11, 2008 |

Erlang virtual machine – BEAM – hosts an increasing number of languages. Reia, a Python/Ruby like scripting language and Lisp Flavoured Erlang have recently been released. Debasish Ghosh reflects on this trend while other authors try to outline other possible language variants inspired by Ruby or Haskell.

Some time ago a blog post on Antares Trader explored the idea of implementing a ruby-like language on the top of Erlang virtual machine – BEAM – in order to combine the advantages offered by Ruby syntax and those of Erlang's concurrency model:

Ruby makes OO programming easy, enjoyable and intuitive [...] but its concurrency model is out of the dark ages" [...]

 

Erlang makes concurrency easy and natural, but its syntax is poor, static, and high on ceremony

 

[...] if Ruby can run on top of the Java Virtual Machine and take advantage of all the power of that environment while still being an expressive and efficient language, why not have a modified version of ruby on top of BEAM, the Erlang virtual machine.

While the author outlines how a Ruby like language on top of Erlang could look like, commentators highlight possible challenges and necessary precautions and point out to the existing initiatives of implementing languages on BEAM, such as Reia (a Python/Ruby like language) and LFE (Lisp Flavoured Erlang).

Debasish Ghosh, who wrote several posts about Erlang virtual machine, seems to believe momentum is growing for increasing number of languages variants being implemented on top of BEAM. In his post „Erlang VM : now hosting multiple languages", he also mentions Reia and LFE whereas one comentator refers to some Haskel based initiatives. Debasish suggests that this growth of Erlang ecosystem is part of a more general trend observed by Ted Leung who argues that „we are going to see not only flourishing new virtual machines, but also lots of languages atop existing virtual machines".

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