Clojure vs Erlang: What are the differences?
What is Clojure? A dynamic programming language that targets the Java Virtual Machine. 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.
What is Erlang? A programming language used to build massively scalable soft real-time systems with requirements on high availability. 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 and Erlang belong to "Languages" category of the tech stack.
"It is a lisp" is the top reason why over 96 developers like Clojure, while over 49 developers mention "Real time, distributed applications" as the leading cause for choosing Erlang.
Clojure and Erlang are both open source tools. Clojure with 7.85K GitHub stars and 1.25K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Erlang with 7.74K GitHub stars and 2.1K GitHub forks.
CircleCI, Groupon, and Soundcloud are some of the popular companies that use Clojure, whereas Erlang is used by AdRoll, Grooveshark, and Heroku. Clojure has a broader approval, being mentioned in 95 company stacks & 80 developers stacks; compared to Erlang, which is listed in 70 company stacks and 47 developer stacks.
What is Clojure?
What is Erlang?
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Postmates built a tool called Bazaar that helps onboard new partners and handles several routine tasks, like nightly emails to merchants alerting them about items that are out of stock.
Since they ran Bazaar across multiple instances, the team needed to avoid sending multiple emails to their partners by obtaining lock across multiple hosts. To solve their challenge, they created and open sourced ConsulMutEx, and an Elixir module for acquiring and releasing locks with Consul and other backends.
It works with Consul’s KV store, as well as other backends, including ets, Erlang’s in-memory database.
Stitch is run entirely on AWS. All of our transactional databases are run with Amazon RDS, and we rely on Amazon S3 for data persistence in various stages of our pipeline. Our product integrates with Amazon Redshift as a data destination, and we also use Redshift as an internal data warehouse (powered by Stitch, of course).
The majority of our services run on stateless Amazon EC2 instances that are managed by AWS OpsWorks. We recently introduced Kubernetes into our infrastructure to run the scheduled jobs that execute Singer code to extract data from various sources. Although we tend to be wary of shiny new toys, Kubernetes has proven to be a good fit for this problem, and its stability, strong community and helpful tooling have made it easy for us to incorporate into our operations.
Another major decision was to adopt Elixir and Phoenix Framework - the DX (Developer eXperience) is pretty similar to what we know from RoR, but this tech is running on the top of rock-solid Erlang platform which is powering planet-scale telecom solutions for 20+ years. So we're getting pretty much the best from both worlds: minimum friction & smart conventions that eliminate the excessive boilerplate AND highly concurrent EVM (Erlang's Virtual Machine) that makes all the scalability problems vanish. The transition was very smooth - none of Ruby developers we had decided to leave because of Elixir. What is more, we kept recruiting Ruby developers w/o any requirement regarding Elixir proficiency & we still were able to educate them internally in almost no time. Obviously Elixir comes with some more tools in the stack: Credo , Hex , AppSignal (required to properly monitor BEAM apps).
I adopted Clojure and ClojureScript because:
- it's 1 language, multiple platforms.
- Simple syntax.
- Designed to avoid unwanted side effects and bugs.
- Immutable data-structures.
- Compact code, very expressive.
- Source code is data.
- It has super-flexible macro.
- Has metadata.
To complement Java. The REPL lets me interactively exercise Java code. I can write performant and safe libraries in Java, and then use them in Clojure. I also find the data-centric aspect of Clojure (excellent build-in structures, literal syntax for easily creating those structures, functions that act well on abstractions of those structures) good for data processing.
This fits a sweet spot between Ruby and Java.
We use Clojure mostly for its "Minority Report"-like interactive development in situations that require 'semi-automatic programming' (data inspection, admin tasks, API exploration, scrapers, etc.). We have also used Clojure successfully to build some components of our stack very quickly and reliably, in the backend and the frontend.
just started learning clojure, maybe around two weeks or so. i'm addicted. this is what i want to be working with and learning for the foreseeable future. the elegance of the language is refreshing. the community is really amazing. i've finally found a language that fits my passion for programming.
Clojure simplifies and reduces the coding efforts involved in creating CloudRepo. The fact that it runs in the JVM gives us access to all the libraries that we could ever need. Our code base is much smaller and easier to reason about than it would have been had we gone with pure Java.